“Prolegomena to an Epistemic Case for Classical Liberalism”

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Abstract: The strength of many arguments for Classical Liberalism is often challenged on the grounds that these arguments appeal to controversial metaphysical structures or moral principles. To avoid these challenges, I appeal to a set of epistemic considerations to show that, in order to structure a society that affords optimal opportunity for citizens to obtain their interests, we have a rational obligation to protect individuals’ freedom to pursue those interests. In this paper, I defend the second premise of a larger argument for Classical Liberalism and, ultimately, for negative natural rights. I conclude that each individual has a prima facie reason to regard every other individual as having an epistemic advantage with respect to evidence regarding their interests and how to obtain them.

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