Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Robert Talisse on "Democracy and Moral Conflict"

Democracy and Moral Conflict

Robert B. Talisse

(Cambridge University Press, 2009), 201 pages


Why democracy? Most often this question is met with an appeal to some decidedly moral value, such as equality, liberty, dignity, or even peace. But in contemporary democratic societies, there is deep disagreement and conflict about the precise nature and relative worth of these values. And when democracy votes, some of those who lose will see the prevailing outcome as not merely disappointing, but morally intolerable. How should citizens react when confronted with a democratic result that they regard as intolerable? Should they revolt, or instead pursue democratic means of social change? In this book, Robert Talisse argues that each of us has reasons to uphold democracy - even when it makes serious moral errors - and that these reasons are rooted in our most fundamental epistemic commitments. His original and compelling study will be of interest to a wide range of readers in political philosophy and political theory.

"Robert Talisse has provided us with a timely, original, and unapologetic defense of constitutional democracy. It is, he says, the only form of government suited to persons who are already committed in their everyday lives to giving reasons for their beliefs. Artfully blending careful philosophical analysis with contemporary illustrations and accessible prose, "Democracy and Moral Conflict" makes an authentically democratic and powerfully reasoned case for democracy." John C. P. Goldberg, Professor of Law, Harvard University.


Introduction [Excerpt]
1. The Problem of Deep Politics
2. Against the Politics of Omission
3. Folk Epistemology
4. Justifying Democracy
5. Epistemic Perfectionism

Preview of pages 1 to 31: here

Robert Talisse is Associate Professor of Philosophy and Political Science at Vanderbilt University.

Other books by Robert Talisse are: "A Pragmatist Philosophy of Democracy" (Routledge, 2007) and "Democracy After Liberalism" (Routledge, 2005). A symposium on Talisse's "A Pragmatist Philosophy of Democracy" was published in Transactions of Charles S. Peirce Society vol. 45 no. 1 (Winter, 2009).

See Robert Talisse's post "The Simple Truth" on the blog of CUP.

Listen to an interview with Robert Talisse on pragmatism at "Philosophy Bites".

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