Contemporary Liberal Universalism Cover Image

Liberální universalismus dnes
Contemporary Liberal Universalism

Author(s): Matej Cíbik
Subject(s): Politics / Political Sciences
Published by: Univerzita Karlova, Fakulta sociálních věd, Katedra politologie Institutu politologických studií
Keywords: liberalism; universalism; recognition; Kant; Fukuyama

Summary/Abstract: Liberal thought – especially when inspired by Kant – always had universalistic ambitions. Faith in its own philosophical dominance is a natural consequence of liberal thinking, starting with its inception during the enlightenment. However, these tendencies are deeply problematic. The relation of liberalism towards the future (postulating its “final victory”) and towards the past (adoption of ahistorical and acultural normative standpoint) is in the final analysis indefensible. However, the fact that liberal thinking cannot defend its commonplace presuppositions does not mean that it is indefensible as such. It might still be superior to other types of political regimes.The second part of the article consists of an argument that defends liberalism without its universalist ambitions. It starts from a concept of recognition and claims that liberal regimes are currently the only ones that can provide a generally acceptable recognition to their citizens. This is true not only for what is traditionally conceived as “western world”, but across the globe. The reason for this unique standing of liberal regimes is a fact (prominently defended by Charles Taylor) that people in contemporary societies do not understand their value as mediated through some external entity (tribe, church, family, nation). They perceive the source of their value as coming from “inside”. This is deeply problematic for illiberal regimes – a challenge they cannot overcome, but that liberal regimes can.

  • Issue Year: 10/2018
  • Issue No: 3
  • Page Range: 64-79
  • Page Count: 15
  • Language: Czech