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Accettiamo la sfida

Risposta a Maffettone

Anno XXII, n. 97, aprile-giugno 1987
Centro Einaudi


Taking up the challenge

Maffettone's approach might not be to the liking of historians or scholars of political doctrines but it is a correct one in so far as it effectively achieves its set goal. Nonetheless, his affirmation of the ethical priority of liberalism and the close relationship he claims exists between methodological individualism and liberalism may be the cause of some perplexity. In the first case, the theoretical limitation of socialism – taken as a revival of enlightened despotism – does not lie in the elimination of liberalism's ethical nucleus but in the negation of the cardinal principle of liberal democracy, i.e. the right to vote. As for the second case, the superiority of methodological individualism is still a long way from being commonly acknowledged. Finally, it should be pointed out that, from the liberal viewpoint – such as Locke's or Nozick's – the problems deriving from tolerance and a-valuation are not even taken into account: the liberal aim is exclusively that of coordinating the individual plans of life. The problem posed by Maffettone is important and worthy of attention but it already presupposes a move away from liberalism. Furthermore, he fails to explain how the concept of integrity can solve the problems emerging from Arrow's theorem of impossibility; especially, in communities made up of ethnic or social groups possessing openly opposed values.