in: The review of politics, Volume 66, Issue 2, p. 285-312
ISSN: 0034-6705 (print), 1748-6858 (electronic)
In recent years, a number of political thinkers in philosophy, political theory and law have defended political theories which are deeply indebted to classical republicanism. Like classical republicans, these thinkers have claimed that a flourishing polity depends upon citizens' exercise of the civic virtues. Unlike classical republicans, some of these thinkers have defended what might be called "political republicanisms"—republicanisms which are also indebted to the methodological restraint of Rawls's political liberalism. The article argues that political republicanism suffers from a viability problem. Its list of civic virtues is too short. More worrisome, the public justifications that would be available to a political republican regime are not sufficient to motivate the development of the civic virtues. Therefore, if we are to be republicans, we should be "perfectionist republicans" instead.