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Adam Parachin

This chapter takes up questions about the justification of the state’s treatment of charities from the liberal perspective that has too often neglected such questions. It does so via a critical examination of Matthew Harding’s recent book, Charity Law and the Liberal State. The chapter argues that Harding does not do enough to address and understand the particular ways in which the liberal state, with an eye to the value of autonomy, promotes the pursuit of charitable purposes. It also questions whether Harding defends sufficiently his chosen methodology of seeking to interpret charity law ‘from within’, and it worries that Harding’s treatment of political purposes reveals that Harding’s primary concern is not charity law per se but rather the duties and responsibilities of the liberal state. The chapter also argues that Harding fails to explain why the state, via charity law, promotes only autonomy-enhancing purposes that are pursued altruistically.