JVF Conference 8

Political Liberty in the Social Contract

This paper concerns a narrowly defined topic in the history of philosophy. Since its intended audience is composed primarily of scholars who are neither historians nor philosophers, it is appropriate that I first indicate why it might be interesting to a more general public. I can begin by noting that a number of other papers in this series are addressed to the problems of modern political liberalism. That this should be the case is not surprising given that the basic terms of liberalism have become more or less the exclusive vocabulary not only of political scholarship, but of politics itself…
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Introduction: A Decade of Transformation

This year marks the tenth anniversary of the profound political, economic and social changes that have taken place in the former communist countries in Central and Eastern Europe. As with all anniversaries, 1999 is a year to look back and assess the progress that has been made and to reflect upon the developments that have yet to take place as the transformation continues. As scholars attempt to make sense of the rapidly changing societies in the emerging democracies of Central and Eastern Europe as well as in the mature democracies of both Western Europe and the United States, the few remaining divisions between East and West – the last faded and dilapidated remnants of the Iron Curtain – are gradually disintegrating and being replaced by the striking, multicolored banner of a globalized society…
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