A number of writers have drawn upon the republican tradition in political thought to criticize liberals like Rawls and Dworkin for neglecting the importance of public service and civic virtue. In this article, I present and evaluate one version of this critique, which can be found in recent work by Quentin Skinner and Charles Taylor. I argue that their critique, which I term 'instrumental republicanism', is caught on the horns of a dilemma. Depending on how the critique is formulated, either there is no interesting disagreement between liberals and republicans, or there is, but not one which should concern liberals. Either way, instrumental republicanism cannot be said to offer an improvement on the liberal attitudes towards public service and civic virtue.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Political Science and International Relations