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Democracy and Authenticity
Toward a Theory of Public Justification

$46.00 ( ) USD

  • Date Published: March 2012
  • availability: This ISBN is for an eBook version which is distributed on our behalf by a third party.
  • format: Adobe eBook Reader
  • isbn: 9781139181341

$ 46.00 USD ( )
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About the Authors
  • In Democracy and Authenticity Professor Howard Schweber examines a basic problem for liberal democracies. When a political entity is characterized by a multitude of identities and values, certain constraints apply to reasons for citizens and public officials to justify coercive political actions. The author argues that justifications based on particular religious doctrines are not a proper basis for government actions that affect everyone. He then develops a concept of public justification intended to guide citizens in a liberal democracy through the work of creating policies that satisfy their responsibilities to one another.

    • Contains a thorough review of the current literature on liberalism and its critiques
    • Presents a more developed and more specific model than other works in the field
    • Challenges the dominance in the political theoretical literature of the past decade by theorists who treat liberal pluralist democracy as a dead letter
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    Reviews & endorsements

    “In this sensible and carefully-reasoned book, Howard Schweber tackles the central question of liberal political theory: how to justify state action in the face of an abiding and often quite unreasonable pluralism. Schweber’s knowledge of contemporary debates is near-encyclopedic, and his dissection of the theoretical underpinnings of all major schools of deliberative democracy is compelling. His alternative of a ‘listener-centric’ theory of public justification proves a useful corrective to competing theories that end up, on closer examination, being either unduly inclusive or restrictive. In Democracy and Authenticity, Schweber has crafted a challenging new theory of deliberative democracy that political philosophers, constitutional scholars, and defenders of the politics of authenticity will have to take seriously.”
    – Richard Boyd, Associate Professor of Government, Georgetown University

    “Professor Schweber has written an exceptionally erudite study of justification in a liberal culture. His assertion that liberalism often requires a certain inauthenticity is original, fascinating, and a challenge to much contemporary orthodoxy.”
    – Mark Graber, Professor of Law and Government, University of Maryland, Carey School of Law

    “Tribalism is not an arcane premodern phenomenon but rather a trait to be found in democracies as different as those of Pakistan, Israel, and the United States, notes Howard Schweber. Defending liberal concerns about the deleterious impact of tribalism on politics, Schweber treats likely critics and allies with equal seriousness as he makes the case for practices of public justification (not public reason) that are neither subjectivist nor perfectionist. Even those of us who have argued against treating justification as the essential work of political theory will be compelled to reconsider after reading this ambitious and fair-minded book.”
    – Bonnie Honig, author of Emergency Politics: Paradox, Law, Democracy

    “A fierce defense of liberalism. Schweber warns against the politics of authenticity and accommodations of pluralism that go too far.”
    – Robert L. Tsai, Professor of Law, American University, and author of Eloquence and Reason

    "Interrogating scores of contemporary texts in liberal-democratic theory, Schweber finds most of them contaminated by commitments to authenticity--a lingering "atavistic attachement" connecting political life to deeply held identities and beliefs, especially religious, ethnocentric, and patriotic... A forensically erudite and vigorous academic performance. Summing Up: Highly recommended." -E.J. Eisenach, emeritus, University of Tulsa, CHOICE Magazine

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    Product details

    • Date Published: March 2012
    • format: Adobe eBook Reader
    • isbn: 9781139181341
    • availability: This ISBN is for an eBook version which is distributed on our behalf by a third party.
  • Table of Contents

    Introduction: consensus liberalism and the challenge of pluralism
    Part I. The Case for Constraint:
    1. Three cases for constraint: Audi, Rawls, and Larmore
    2. Subjective standards and the problem of deliberative perfectionism
    3. Liberalism and the problem of authenticity
    4. Further reflections on authenticity
    5. The scope of constraint
    Part II. Responding to the Case for Inclusion:
    6. Arguments from consequences: pluralism and the role of culture
    7. The arguments from consequences: agnostic democracy and republican virtue
    8. Fairness as equality
    9. Fairness as recognition
    10. The argument from epistemology: claims of equivalence
    11. Empiricism and public justification
    12. Toward a theory of public justification.

  • Author

    Howard H. Schweber, University of Wisconsin, Madison
    Howard Schweber is an Associate Professor of Political Science and Legal Studies at the University of Wisconsin in Madison. In 2006, he received the William T. Kiekhoffer award for Distinguished Teaching at the University of Wisconsin in Madison. He is the author of The Language of Liberal Constitutionalism (Cambridge University Press, 2007) and The Creation of American Common Law, 1850–1880: Technology, Politics, and the Construction of Citizenship (Cambridge University Press, 2004).

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