Skepticism, Individuality, and Freedom

The Reluctant Liberalism of Richard Flathman


Bonnie Honig and David R. Mapel, editors

Major thinkers grapple with the challenge of this renowned liberal thinker.

Major thinkers grapple with the challenge of this renowned liberal thinker.

Contributors: Ronald Beiner, Jane Bennett, William E. Connolly, Peter Digeser, Richard Friedman, Nancy J. Hirschmann, George Kateb, Patrick Neal, Anne Norton, Richard Tuck, Jeremy J. Waldron, Linda Zerilli.

As one of liberal theory’s most important gadflies, Richard Flathman has during the past four decades produced a significant body of work that is iconoclastic, idiosyncratic, and increasingly influential. Flathman criticizes liberal theory’s role in justifying a politics of governance that has drifted substantially from liberalism’s central commitments to individuality and freedom. It is this challenge, and its implications for the future of liberal theory, that brings together the diverse and distinguished authors of this volume. Topics include the relationships between theory and practice, skepticism and knowledge, individuality and egoism, negative and positive freedom, Hobbes and liberalism, as well as the uneasy connections among liberalism, feminism, and democratic politics.

Contributors: Ronald Beiner, U of Toronto; Jane Bennett, Goucher; William E. Connolly, Johns Hopkins; Peter Digeser, U of California, Santa Barbara; Richard Friedman, SUNY, Buffalo; Nancy J. Hirschmann, Cornell; George Kateb, Princeton; Patrick Neal, U of Vermont; Anne Norton, U of Pennsylvania; Richard Tuck, Harvard; Jeremy J. Waldron, Columbia; Linda Zerilli, Northwestern.

Bonnie Honig is professor of political science at Northwestern University and a senior research fellow at the American Bar Foundation. David R. Mapel is associate professor of political science at the University of Colorado.



Introduction Bonnie Honig and David R. Mapel

ONE The Voice of Richard Flathman in the Conversation of Liberalism Patrick Neal
TWO The Skepticism of Willful Liberalism Linda Zerilli
THREE Breaking into the Prison of Practice: Flathman and Oakeshott on Theorizing and Doing Peter Digeser
FOUR Individuality and Egotism George Kate
FIVE The Fetish of Individuality: Richard Flathman’s Willfully Liberal Politics Ronald Beiner
SIX Freedom,Flathman,and Feminism Nancy J. Hirschmann
SEVEN Liberty Conceived as the Opposite of Slavery Richard Friedman
EIGHT Hobbes and the Principle of Publicity Jeremy J. Waldron
NINE Flathman’s Hobbes Richard Tuck
TEN Liberalism’s Leap of Faith Anne Norton
ELEVEN Mouths,Bodies,and the State 244 Jane Bennett and William E. Connolly

Annotated Bibliography ofWorks by Richard Flathman