Democracy and Disagreement (Google eBook)

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Harvard University Press, Jun 1, 2009 - Political Science - 432 pages
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The din and deadlock of public life in America--where insults are traded, slogans proclaimed, and self-serving deals made and unmade--reveal the deep disagreement that pervades our democracy. The disagreement is not only political but also moral, as citizens and their representatives increasingly take extreme and intransigent positions. A better kind of public discussion is needed, and Amy Gutmann and Dennis Thompson provide an eloquent argument for "deliberative democracy" today. They develop a principled framework for opponents to come together on moral and political issues.

Gutmann and Thompson show how a deliberative democracy can address some of our most difficult controversies--from abortion and affirmative action to health care and welfare--and can allow diverse groups separated by class, race, religion, and gender to reason together. Their work goes beyond that of most political theorists and social scientists by exploring both the principles for reasonable argument and their application to actual cases. Not only do the authors suggest how deliberative democracy can work, they also show why improving our collective capacity for moral argument is better than referring all disagreements to procedural politics or judicial institutions. "Democracy and Disagreement" presents a compelling approach to how we might resolve some of our most trying moral disagreements and live with those that will inevitably persist, on terms that all of us can respect.

  

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Democracy and disagreement

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Any reader familiar with the previous work of Professors Gutmann and Thompson (coeditors of Ethics & Politics, Nelson-Hall, 1990) will be pleased to see they have continued to collaborate on matters ... Read full review

Contents

The Persistence of Moral Disagreement
11
The Sense of Reciprocity
52
The Value of Publicity
95
The Scope of Accountability
128
The Promise of Utilitarianism
165
The Constitution of Deliberative Democracy
199
The Latitude of Liberty
230
The Obligations of Welfare
273
The Ambiguity of Fair Opportunity
307
Conclusion
346
Notes
363
Index
411
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About the author (2009)

Amy Gutmann is Laurance S. Rockefeller University Professor of Politics and Director of the University Center for Human Values at Princeton University.

Dennis Thompson is Alfred North Whitehead Professor of Political Philosophy and Associate Provost at Harvard University. He is the author of "The Democratic Citizen: Social Science and Democratic Theory in the Twentieth Century", "John Stuart Mill and Representative Government", and coauthor (with Amy Gutmann) of "Democracy and Disagreement".

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