Hostname: page-component-758b78586c-9l7gn Total loading time: 0 Render date: 2023-11-29T15:28:45.352Z Has data issue: false Feature Flags: { "corePageComponentGetUserInfoFromSharedSession": true, "coreDisableEcommerce": false, "useRatesEcommerce": true } hasContentIssue false


Published online by Cambridge University Press:  30 April 2018

Hun Chung*
Associate Professor, School of Political Science and Economics, Waseda University, 1-6-1 Nishiwaseda, Sinjuku-ku, Tokyo 169-8050. Email: URL:


A defining characteristic of a liberal democratic society is the assignment of basic rights and liberties that protect each person's private sphere. Hence, social choice made in a liberal democratic society must at the very least be consistent with the exercise of each person's basic rights. However, even when everybody agrees to this basic principle, there could still remain irreconcilable social conflict and disagreement when it comes to the specific assignment of basic rights. This is especially so in a pluralistic society where there is a clash among radically different and incompatible world views. Philosophers have now started to focus on this issue, which now goes by the name 'perspectival diversity'. This paper extends the basic social choice theoretic framework of liberal rights by enlarging the domain to include individual perspectives alongside individual preferences. In this new framework, different individuals are able to see or perceive the same social alternative differently based on their own unique perspectives. The formal results of the paper imply that generating a viable social choice that is consistent with the assignment of basic rights can quickly break down once we start to increase the level of perspectival diversity in society.

Copyright © Cambridge University Press 2018 

Access options

Get access to the full version of this content by using one of the access options below. (Log in options will check for institutional or personal access. Content may require purchase if you do not have access.)



Blau, J. 1975. Liberal values and independence. Review of Economic Studies 42: 395401.Google Scholar
Gaertner, W., Pattanaik, P. K. & Suzumura, K.. 1992. Individual rights revisited. Economica 59: 161177.Google Scholar
Gaus, G. 2016. The Tyranny of the Idea – Justice in a Diverse Society. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University PressGoogle Scholar
Gaus, G. 2017. Is Public Reason a Normalization Project? Unpublished manuscript.Google Scholar
Gibbard, A. 1974. A Pareto-consistent libertarian claim. Journal of Economic Theory 7: 388410.Google Scholar
Harel, A. & Nitzan, S.. 1987. The libertarian resolution of the Paretian liberal paradox. Zeitschrift fur Nationalokonomie 47: 337352.Google Scholar
Kelly, J. S. 1976. Rights exercising and a Pareto-consistent libertarian claim. Journal of Economic Theory 13: 138153.Google Scholar
Mill, J. S. 1994. Principles of Political Economy, ed. Riley, J.. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
Mill, J. S. 2003. On Liberty, contained in Utilitarianism and On Liberty, ed. Warnock, M.. Oxford: Blackwell.Google Scholar
Muldoon, R. 2016a. Social Contract Theory for a Diverse World: Beyond Tolerance. Oxford: Routledge.Google Scholar
Muldoon, R. 2017. Exploring tradeoffs in accommodating moral diversity. Philosophical Studies 174: 18711883.Google Scholar
Rawls, J. 1993/2005. Political Liberalism. New York, NY: Columbia University Press.Google Scholar
Sen, A. K. 1970a. Collective Choice and Social Welfare. Amsterdam: North-Holland.Google Scholar
Sen, A. K. 1970b. The impossibility of a Paretian liberal. Journal of Political Economy 78: 152157.Google Scholar
Sen, A. K. 1976. Liberty, unanimity and rights. Economica 43: 5389.Google Scholar
Suzumura, K. 1980. Liberal paradox and the voluntary exchange of rights exercising. Journal of Economic Theory 22: 407422.Google Scholar
Suzumura, K. 1983. Rational Choice, Collective Decision, and Social Welfare. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
Suzumura, K. 2010. Welfarism, individual rights, and procedural fairness. In Handbook of Social Choice and Welfare – Volume 2, ed. Arrow, K., Sen, A. and Suzumura, K.. Amsterdam: North-Holland.Google Scholar