Res Publica

pp 1–6 | Cite as

Matthew Kramer: Liberalism with Excellence

Oxford University Press, Oxford, 2017, 456 pp, ISBN 9780198777960
  • Donald Bello HuttEmail author

Liberalism with Excellence is Matthew Kramer’s first of two books on justice. It is, as he states in its preface, ‘in many respects a prolegomenon to the second volume, A Stoic Theory of Justice’. The book is, nonetheless, a well-argued and complex self-standing work; a fresh contribution to the sempiternal question: what are the bases for the legitimacy of the exercise of public power?

The book advances three general goals. First, it re-examines and challenges the requirement of state neutrality regarding reasonable conceptions of the good which is typically endorsed by Rawls and other liberal philosophers. Kramer avers that in rejecting neutrality and in advocating for the use of ‘subsidies and other inducements for the attainment of excellence in sundry areas of human endeavour’, his position ‘can be rightly classified as “perfectionist”’ (2017, p. 1).

Nonetheless, in a second step, Kramer distances himself from the perfectionist tradition by espousing a conception of liberalism...



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Copyright information

© Springer Nature B.V. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Flanders Research Foundation (FWO) Postdoctoral Fellow, Institute of PhilosophyKU LeuvenLouvainBelgium

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