Like Sunstein and other advocates of 'republican' or 'civic' liberalism, I believe that it is historically unsound and politically unwise to insist on a sharp distinction between liberalism and republicanism. Others disagree, however, and there is much to be learned from their position even if, ultimately, we should not adopt it. Those who take this more radical neo-republican view advance two main lines of argument: first, that the liberal emphasis on neutrality and procedural fairness is fundamentally at odds with the republican commitment to promoting civic virtue; and, second, that republicans and liberals conceive of liberty or freedom in incompatible ways. This second line of argument is my particular concern here, for it raises the question of whether republicans may attach the same value to autonomy that liberals do. My claim is that they may, and they must as republicanism and liberalism in the end are both theories of self-government. Before setting out and supporting that claim, though, it is necessary to examine briefly the first line of argument.

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Copyright © 2005 Cambridge University Press. This chapter first appeared in Autonomy and the Challenges to Liberalism: New Essays.

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