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.
′... an impressive, informative, and highly stimulating piece of work. It is certainly a welcome contribution to the analysis of a vital body of Western political thought.′ International Affairs
′Impressive and scholarly.′ Political Studies
′Avaluable analysis of the various strands constitutive of modern liberalism. Well–written and clearly organized.′ Philosophical Quarterly
′This book will become one of the basic introductions to the sociology of liberalism and a basic resource for all those who are concerned with reassessing the nature and claims of contemporary democratic thought.′ British Journal of Sociology
′Bellamy′s book is highly commendable. His social historical analysis of the evolution of liberalism is a significant contribution to the literature.′
′Bellamy′s successful joining of historical exposition of societal / political moralities and structures with analysis of philosophical ideas is impressive.′ Millennium