Liberalism: The Basics is an engaging and accessible introduction to liberalism. The author provides a comprehensive overview of liberal practices, liberal values and critically analyses liberal theories, allowing for a richer understanding of liberalism as a whole.
The book is divided into three parts:
- Liberal practices: the rule of law, free speech, freedom of association and movement, economic freedom and sexual freedom.
- Liberal values: freedom, autonomy, equality, and the universal values of political societies – the communal identity – and well-being of their members.
- Liberal theories: natural rights, utilitarianism, Kant's rationalism and the contemporary theories of John Rawls and the post-Rawlsians.
Presented in a clear and concise way, this book will be an ideal introduction for students and scholars of liberalism, political philosophy, political theory and political ideology.
Table of Contents
Part I: Liberal Practices
1. The Idea of a Practice and the Initial Distinction between Liberal and Illiberal Societies
2. The Rule of Law
3. Free Speech
4. Freedom of Association and Movement
5. Economic Freedom
6. Sexual Freedom
Part II: Liberal Values
7. The Idea and Value of Freedom
8. The Equality of the Participants
10. Liberalism and Human Well-being
Part III: Liberal Theories
11. Libertarian Theories
12. Utilitarian Theories of Liberalism
13. Kant's Idea of Freedom as Rational Self-determination
14. Contemporary Theories of Liberalism
John Charvet is an Emeritus Professor of Political Science at the London School of Economics, UK. He has also been a Visiting Professor at Johns Hopkins University, USA, and a Visiting Fellow of the Australian National University, Australia.
"John Charvet’s Liberalism is lively, opinionated, full of examples, and always admirably clear. The route from practices to values to theory takes the reader from actual liberal societies to its inner architecture. Anyone wanting to know what liberalism stands for and why, need look no further than this book." – Jonathan Seglow, Royal Holloway, University of London, UK.
"This is a lively and original introduction to liberalism. Charvet articulates a distinctive understanding of liberalism as set of practices embedded in modern social life and provides an engaging exploration of the role played by liberal ideas in contemporary political controversies." - Cillian McBride, Queen’s University Belfast, UK.