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Cornell Law School




This Symposium offers an occasion to pursue two important tasks: (1) identifying normative and constitutional foundations for an affimnative governmental responsibility to engage in a "formative project" that would foster persons' capacities for democratic and personal self-government;' and (2) exploring the mix of normative and empirical inquiries necessary to shape the proper goals and parameters of such a project. These tasks are relevant to my larger project of attempting to develop a synthetic, or feminist and liberal, normative account of rights, responsibilities, and governmental promotion of good, self-governing lives.2 That account argues for governmental responsibility to foster the preconditions for securing free and equal citizenship for all. It would make the issue of sex inequality, or women's subordination, a central concern of law and political philosophy, and would also attend to other systemic, unjust forms of subordination. This approach would also endorse liberal commitments to autonomy, toleration, and respect for diversity, and would find a place for civic republican concerns to foster the capacity for democratic selfgovernment.



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