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Journal of Philosophical Research

Volume 37, 2012

John Patrick Rudisill
Pages 221-232
DOI: 10.5840/jpr20123710

Avoiding the Whiff of Paradox in the Liberal Promotion of Autonomy
Critical Comment on Colburn

In his recent articulation and defense of what he calls autonomy-minded anti-perfectionism, Ben Colburn relies on a distinction he draws between first-order and second-order values. In this paper I argue that his approach (1) fails to make good on its promise to offer a distinct third way, (2) is either too restrictive or too permissive and (3) relies crucially on a kind of formal analysis that undercuts the central claim upon which rests his unification of neutrality-minded (“political”) and perfectionistic (“comprehensive”) liberalism.