American Journal of Jurisprudence 63 (1):93-107 (2018)

Han van Wietmarschen
University College London
According to Matthew Kramer’s aspirational perfectionism, the state is permitted to provide funding for the arts, sciences, and culture with the aim of securing the warranted self-respect of all citizens. This paper argues that although Kramer is right to think that the state has an important role to play in the economy of recognition, his conception of this role is mistaken. I argue, first, that Kramer’s exclusive focus on warrant for self-respect obscures the importance of social phenomena such as stigma, marginalization, and discrimination. Second, I argue that Kramer is mistaken in his reliance on vicarious pride to explain how the various excellences of our fellow citizens provide us with warrant for self-respect. I conclude with a brief sketch an alternative account, according to which the self-respect of citizens of democratic societies is supported by their collective creation and maintenance of just political institutions.
Keywords Perfectionism  Political Liberalism  Self-Respect  Self-Esteem  Democracy
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DOI 10.1093/ajj/auy002
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