The Politics of Persons
Individual Autonomy and Socio-historical Selves
Cambridge University Press 2011
In theorizing justice, equality, freedom, authority, and the like, political philosophers often rely tacitly upon particular conceptions of the self and individual autonomy. Traditional forms of liberalism seem to assume a conception of the self according to which selves are self-interested rational choosers of their ends who are fundamentally asocial. Longstanding critiques of liberalism contend that liberalism assumes a flawed conception of the self. These views hold that once one recognizes the thoroughly social and relational nature of the self, one must reject liberalism as a framework for political theory.
In The Politics of Persons; Individual Autonomy and Socio-historical Selves (Cambridge University Press, 2011), John Christman seeks to develop a form of liberalism that can accommodate insights offered by liberalism’s critics about the nature of the self. Christman develops a liberal theory based in a socio-historical view of the self and individual autonomy.