Wednesday, February 01, 2012

Essays on "Truth and Democracy"

Truth and Democracy

ed. by Jeremy Elkins & Andrew Norris

(University of Pennsylvania Press, 2012)

352 pages


The essays in this volume question whether democratic politics requires discussion of truth and, if so, how truth should matter to democratic politics. While individual essays approach the subject from different angles, the volume as a whole suggests that the character of our politics depends in part on what kinds of truthful inquiries it promotes and how it deals with various kinds of disputes about truth.

Political theorists Jeremy Elkins and Andrew Norris observe that American political culture is deeply ambivalent about truth. On the one hand, voices on both the left and right make confident appeals to the truth of claims about the status of the market in public life and the role of scientific evidence and argument in public life, human rights, and even religion. On the other hand, there is considerable anxiety that such appeals threaten individualism and political plurality. This anxiety, Elkins and Norris contend, has perhaps been greatest in the humanities and in political theory, where many have responded by either rejecting or neglecting the whole topic of truth.

Content [preview]

Introduction - Jeremy Elkins & Andrew Norris

Part I: Opinion and Agreement

1. Concerning Practices of Truth - Jeremy Elkins
2. Truth and Politics [Excerpt] - Linda M. G. Zerilli
3. Truth and Disagreement - Robert Post
4. Speaking Power to Truth - Wendy Brown

Part II: Authority and Justification

5. Cynicism, Skepticism, and the Politics of Truth [Excerpt] - Andrew Norris
6. Democracy as a Space of Reasons [pdf] - Michael P. Lynch
7. Truth and Democracy: Theme and Variations - William A. Galston
8. On Truth and Democracy, Hermeneutic Responses - David Couzens Hoy
9. Too Soon for the Counterreformation - Jane Bennett
10. Response to Norris, Lynch, and Galston - Martin Jay

Part III: Decision and Deliberation

11. Democracy and the Love of Truth - Bernard Yack

12. J. S. Mill on Truth, Liberty, and Democracy [Abstract] - Frederick Rosen
13. Can This Marriage Be Saved? The Relationship of Democracy and Truth - Rogers M. Smith
14. Democratic Politics and the Lovers of Truth - Nadia Urbinati

Part IV.: Truth and Public Reasons

15. Truth and Public Reason [First page] - Joshua Cohen

16. The Truth in Political Liberation [pdf] - David Estlund
17. Truth at the Door of Public Reason: Response to Cohen and Estlund - Josiah Ober
18. Just Gimme Some Truth: A Pragmatist Proposal - Robert Westbrook

Jeremy Elkins is Professor of Political Science at Bryn Mawr College.

Andrew Norris is Associate Professor of Political Science and Affiliated Professor of Philosophy at the University of California, Santa Barbara.

(Thanks to Reza Javaheri for the pointer!)

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