more from Michael J. Sandel

Single Idea 21120

[catalogued under 25. Society / D. Political Doctrines / 6. Liberalism]

Full Idea

Sandel says liberals are committed to the 'unencumbered self', ..when it has no roles, commitments or projects that are 'so essential that turning away from them would call into question the person I am'.

Gist of Idea

The self is 'unencumbered' if it can abandon its roles and commitments without losing identity


report of Michael J. Sandel (Liberalism and the Limits of Justice [1982], p.86) by Andrew Shorten - Contemporary Political Theory 02

Book Reference

Shorten,Andrew: 'Contemporary Political Theory' [Palgrave 2016], p.25

A Reaction

This is a very penetrating criticism of liberalism. The liberal self that makes social and legal contracts and exercises basic political rights is not far from being a robot. It has the minimum needed to join a society. Belonging is quite different.