Floris Biskamp (Tübingen)

"Liberalism is good in theory, but it just doesn't work in practice." Four critiques of liberalism to which there can only be liberal answers.

short biography

Floris Biskamp is a political scientist and sociologist currently working as coordinator and postdoc in the PhD program "Right-wing populist social policy and exclusionary solidarity" at the University of Tübingen.


Liberalism is a normative theory centered around the autonomy of the individual, law, and reason. It is the dominant philosophy of Western modernity, and within this modernity, it is hard to think in any other way than liberal today. The presentations discusses liberalism in light of its critiques, considering how valid their arguments against liberalism are and what liberalism has to offer in its defense. Specifically, it will discuss four types of critique: Communitarian critiques emphasize that human society is always dependent on thick, collectively shared traditions, for which liberalism leaves little room. Economic critiques problematize that private property, which is closely associated with liberalism, systematically produces dangerous crisis dynamics. Critics focused on national statehood point out that liberal law cannot exist without a state, which must act illiberally in order to exist. Ecological critiques argue that liberalism leaves no room for an adequate consideration of nonhuman life or of the conditions of human life. With regard to all four criticisms, the presentation argues that they do have valid arguments against liberalism, but that convincing answers can in turn only be liberal.

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