Club meeting

Dave Killion — January 15, 2012

Another post courtesy of VLBC member Jason T –

This past Thursday was the latest meeting of the Victoria Libertarian Book Club and the first meeting in which we discussed Contemporary Political Philosophy:  An Introduction. The book is a systematic overview of the political traditions which the author,  Will Kymlicka, considers to be most influential to the current field of political philosophy and discussion. These include: Utilitarianism, Liberal Equality, Libertarianism, Marxism, Communitarianism, Citizenship Theory, Multiculturalism, and Feminism.

In the introduction, the author talks about the difficulty in comparing political philosophies from the perspective that they seem to start from different fundamental principles. He believes that in spite of this apparent lack of common ground that all contemporary political philosophy is based ultimately on the idea of equality, arguing that in a modern democratic context any philosophy that did not hold equality in some sense as its prime value would quickly be excluded from the debate.

Being not strictly Libertarian in content the book sparked a lively debate. Having a self-professed Utilitarian at the discussion led to a lot of back and forth in regards to the various points the author brought up for and against Utilitarianism, the content of our reading. Despite not being convinced of Utilitarianism anyways, I felt that the author did not seem to argue very strongly for, but very strongly against, Utilitarianism in the chapter.  However, this may be related to the point which he makes that most political philosophies tend to take up positions specifically in reference to being against Utilitarianism as their starting point. So it remains to be seen how Mr. Kymlicka is going to present the various arguments in the next two chapters we will be reading on Liberal Equality and Libertarianism

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