Judith Shklar and the liberalism of fear

By Allyn Fives

Judith Shklar and the liberalism of fear


  • eBook

Book Information

  • Format: Hardcover
  • ISBN: 978-1-5261-4773-8
  • Pages: 288
  • Publisher: Manchester University Press
  • Price: £85.00
  • Published Date: November 2020
  • BIC Category: PHILOSOPHY / Political, Political Theory, Social & political philosophy, PHILOSOPHY / Individual Philosophers, POLITICAL SCIENCE / Political Ideologies / Conservatism & Liberalism, Ethics & Moral Philosophy, Society & social sciences / Political science & theory, Humanities / Social & political philosophy


This book puts forward a novel interpretation of Judith Shklar's liberalism of fear. Shklar's work is usually seen as an important influence for those who take a sceptical approach to political thought and are concerned first and foremost with the avoidance of great evils. In fact, as this book shows, the most important factor shaping her mature work is not her scepticism but rather a value monist approach to both moral conflict and freedom, which represents a radical departure from the value pluralism (and scepticism) of her early work. The book also advances a clear line of argument in defence of value pluralism in political theory, one that builds on but moves beyond Shklar's own early work.


'The rampant cruelties of today's politics - indifference toward desperate migrants left to die at sea, acceptance of children caged and separated from parents, abandonment of dissidents that brave brutal repression - make Judith Shklar's ideas seem even more relevant than when they were written. Allyn Fives shows how Shklar, torn between tolerant scepticism and an overriding abhorrence of cruelty, takes us on a "tour of perplexities". This tour, explains Fives, reveals the possibilities for evaluative political theory in a world of insurmountable moral contradictions.'
Kerry Whiteside, Professor, Department of Government, Franklin & Marshall College

'Fives interrogates Shklar's decision to place cruelty first among the vices in order to examine the nature of freedom and to consider how we should respond to moral conflict. What emerges is a provocative discussion of the liberalism of fear and a thoughtful analysis of the nature of political theory itself.'
Edward Hall, Lecturer in Political Theory, University of Sheffield


1 The liberalism of fear
2 Monism
3 Freedom
4 Utopia
5 Tyranny
6 Obligation
7 Conclusions


Allyn Fives is Lecturer in Political Science and Sociology at the National University of Ireland, Galway

Newsletter Sign Up

Manchester University Press

Your cart is empty.

Select your shipping destination to estimate postage costs

(Based on standard shipping costs)

Final cost calculated on checkout
Promotional codes can be added on Checkout