Liberty and equality. A critical response to the debate between James P. Sterba and Jan Narveson

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Abstract:

This article examines the libertarian arguments of Jan Narveson and James P. Sterba regarding the compatibility of liberty and equality. It then posits that their arguments fail in solving tensions between liberty and equality, because all fundamental rights cannot be derived from liberty. A coherent scheme of human rights is only possible if human dignity is used to balance the conflicting interests of liberty and equality. It then proceeds to make some suggestions on how human dignity as core value might help to solve tensions between equality and liberty