Sunday, November 13, 2011

New book by Michel Rosenfeld on Pluralism

Law, Justice, Democracy, and the Clash of Cultures

by Michel Rosenfeld

(Cambridge University Press, 2011)

320 pages


The Cold War ideological battle with universal aspirations has given way to a clash of cultures as the world concurrently moves toward globalization of economies and communications and balkanization through a clash of ethnic and cultural identities. Traditional liberal theory has confronted daunting challenges in coping with these changes and with recent developments such as the spread of postmodern thought, religious fundamentalism, and global terrorism. This book argues that a political and legal philosophy based on pluralism is best suited to confront the problems of the twenty-first century. Pointing out that monist theories such as liberalism have become inadequate and that relativism is dangerous, the book makes the case for pluralism from the standpoint of both theory and its applications. The book engages with thinkers, such as Spinoza, Kant, Hegel, Rawls, Berlin, Dworkin, Habermas, and Derrida, and with several subjects that are at the center of current controversies, including equality, group rights, tolerance, secularism confronting religious revival, and political rights in the face of terrorism.

Content [preview]

Part I. Liberal Justice and Fleeting Specters of Unity

1. Reframing Comprehensive Pluralism: Hegel versus Rawls
2. Equality and the Dialectic Between Identity and Difference
3. Human Rights and the Clash Between Universalism and Relativism

Part II. E Pluribus Unum?

4. Spinoza's Dialectic and the Paradoxes of Tolerance
5. The Clash Between Deprivatized Religion and Relativized Secularism
6. Dworkin and the One Law Principle

Part III. Can Pluralism Thrive in Times of Stress?

7. Rethinking Political Rights in Times of Stress
8. Derrida's Deconstructive Ethics of Difference Confronts Global Terrorism
9. Habermas's Discourse Ethics of Identity and Global Terror
10. Conclusion: the Hopes of Pluralism in a More Unified and More Fragmented World

Michel Rosenfeld is Professor of Law, Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law, Yeshiva University. He is Co-Editor (with Andrew Arato) of "Habermas on Law and Democracy: Critical Exchanges" (University of California Press, 1998).

Related papers by Michel Rosenfeld:
* The Rule of Law and the Legitimacy of Constitutional Democracy (pdf, 2001)
* Spinoza's Dialectic and the Paradoxes of Tolerance (2003)
* A Pluralist Theory of Political Rights in Times of Stress (2005)
* Habermas's Call for Cosmopolitan Constitutional Patriotism in an Age of Global Terror (2006)
* Derrida's Ethical Turn and America (2006)
* Equality and the Dialectic Between Identity and Difference (2006)
* Unveiling the Limits of Tolerance (2010) [w. Susanna Mancini]

See also a panel discussion between Michel Rosenfeld, Jeremy Waldron, Tracy Higgins and Ruti Teitel on "What is Human Rights? Universals and the Challenge of Cultural Relativism" (pdf, 1999).

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