AuthorShahar, Dan Coby
AdvisorSchmidtz, David J.
MetadataShow full item record
PublisherThe University of Arizona.
RightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
AbstractAt the heart of liberal political theory is a formula for enabling diverse groups to coexist peacefully in spite of their differences. This formula involves seeking broad consensus on certain key political institutions as well as on moral norms against imposing views on others. In recent centuries, this formula has been highly successful. However, it is now under attack from green theorists who claim liberal societies will systematically fail to protect the environment, precipitating a global ecological crisis. The radical societal transformations advocated by these greens diverge from traditional liberal arrangements and seek to entrench green ideas in the foundations of the political order. In this dissertation, I examine how liberals can rebut such proposals without simply dismissing greens and their beliefs. I argue that the most promising route to a satisfactory liberal response is pragmatic in nature, showing that greens have little to gain from radicalism and more to gain from a continued commitment to liberalism. I develop this argument in two complementary ways, demonstrating first that greens have overestimated the likely benefits of their transformational proposals and second that a conciliatory approach in the spirit of liberalism offers great promise for achieving green goals. Ultimately, I contend that even for those who see a crisis on the horizon and worry that liberal societies will not respond appropriately, liberalism remains the best available approach to political life.
Degree ProgramGraduate College