Bellamy examines the evolution of liberal ideas in Britain, France, Germany and Italy. In doing so he discusses the work of Mill, Green, Durkheim, Weber and Pareto among others, and situates their work firmly within their respective historical contexts, illustrating the contingency of many of the social and moral assumptions underlying liberal thought.
The book also examines critically the elaboration of liberal ideas in the work of contemporary political philosophers such as Hayek, Nozick and Rawls. Bellamy shows how the liberalisms of these writers rest on social views and moral intuitions that are now anachronistic and untenable.
1. Introduction: From Ethical to Economic Liberalism.
2. Britain: Liberalism Defined.
3. France: Liberalism Socialized.
4. Italy: Liberalism Transformed.
5. Germany: Liberalism Disenchanted.
6. Contemporary Liberal Philosophy: Liberalism Neutralized.
7. Conclusion: From Liberal Democracy to Democratic Liberalism.