Reason and Democracy

Reason and Democracy

Reason and Democracy breaks new ground in providing a plausible philosophical basis for the communitarian view of a healthy democracy as the rational pursuit of common purposes by free and equal citizens. Thomas A. Spragens Jr. argues that the most persistent paradigms of Western political rationality originated in classical philosophy, took their modern expression in the philosophies of Kant and Mill, and terminated in Max Weber’s pairing of purely technical rationality with arbitrary ends. Drawing on recent work in the philosophy of science and the philosophy of language, combined with appropriate analogies in political thought and action, Spragens maintains that it is possible to discern the outlines of a philosophically cogent and morally beneficial concept of rational practice on the part of a political community. This possibility, he contends, provides a philosophical basis for liberal democratic politics that is superior to utilitarian and deontological accounts.

Political Argument in a Polarized Age

Reason and Democratic Life

Political Argument in a Polarized Age

From obnoxious public figures to online trolling and accusations of “fake news”, almost no one seems able to disagree without hostility. But polite discord sounds farfetched when issues are so personal and fundamental that those on opposing sides appear to have no common ground. How do you debate the “enemy”? Philosophers Scott Aikin and Robert Talisse show that disagreeing civilly, even with your sworn enemies, is a crucial part of democracy. Rejecting the popular view that civility requires a polite and concessive attitude, they argue that our biggest challenge is not remaining calm in the face of an opponent, but rather ensuring that our political arguments actually address those on the opposing side. Too often politicians and pundits merely simulate political debate, offering carefully structured caricatures of their opponents. These simulations mimic political argument in a way designed to convince citizens that those with whom they disagree are not worth talking to. Good democracy thrives off conflict, but until we learn the difference between real and simulated arguments we will be doomed to speak at cross-purposes. Aikin and Talisse provide a crash course in political rhetoric for the concerned citizen, showing readers why understanding the structure of arguments is just as vital for a healthy democracy as debate over facts and values. But there’s a sting in the tail - no sooner have we learned rhetorical techniques for better disagreement than these techniques themselves become weapons with which to ignore our enemies, as accusations like “false equivalence” and “ad hominem” are used to silence criticism. Civility requires us to be eternally vigilant to the ways we disagree.

Reason, Freedom, and Democracy in Islam

Essential Writings of Abdolkarim Soroush

Reason, Freedom, and Democracy in Islam

Abdolkarim Soroush has emerged as one of the leading moderate revisionist thinkers of the Muslim world. He and his contemporaries in other Muslim countries are shaping what may become Islam's equivalent of the Christian Reformation: a period of questioning traditional practices and beliefs and, ultimately, of upheaval. Presenting eleven of his essays, this volume makes Soroush's thought readily available in English for the first time. The essays set forth his views on such matters as the freedom of Muslims to interpret the Qur'an, the inevitability of change in religion, the necessity of freedom of belief, and the compatibility of Islam and democracy. Throughout, Soroush emphasizes the rights of individuals in their relationship with both government and God, explaining that the ideal Islamic state can only be defined by the beliefs and will of the majority.

Democracy

A Short, Analytical History

Democracy

Despite Asia's protracted economic troubles, the region is poised to recover and perhaps become stronger than ever. This timely work identifies the major challenges facing Asia's Four Tigers (Singapore, Taiwan, South Korea, and Hong Kong), Japan, China, and their Southeast Asian neighbors (Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia, and the Philippines) as the region increases it role and stature on the world stage. Highly regarded Asia policy makers and opinion shapers consider such key questions as: What is the appropriate response to China's ascent? Are there prospects for U.S.-Asian partnerships (in such areas as the environment)? Is economic cooperation between both sides of the Pacific realistic? How can Americans gain from Asia's attempts to rebuild her institutions? And will East Asia and the United States adjust to a multi-polar security and economic milieu?

Democracy Within Reason

Technocratic Revolution in Mexico

Democracy Within Reason


Public Reason and Political Community

Public Reason and Political Community

Public Reason and Political Community defends the liberal ideal of public reason against its critics, but as a form of moral compromise for the sake of civic friendship rather than as a consequence of respect for persons as moral agents. At the heart of the principle of public justification is an idealized unanimity requirement, which can be framed in at least two different ways. Is it our reasons for political decisions that have to be unanimously acceptable to qualified points of view, otherwise we exclude them from deliberation, or is it coercive state action that must be unanimously acceptable, otherwise we default to not having a common rule or policy, on the issue at hand? Andrew Lister explores the 'anti-perfectionist dilemma' that results from this ambiguity. He defends the reasons model on grounds of the value of political community, and applies it to recent debates about marriage.

Democratic Reason

Politics, Collective Intelligence, and the Rule of the Many

Democratic Reason

Individual decision making can often be wrong due to misinformation, impulses, or biases. Collective decision making, on the other hand, can be surprisingly accurate. In Democratic Reason, Hélène Landemore demonstrates that the very factors behind the superiority of collective decision making add up to a strong case for democracy. She shows that the processes and procedures of democratic decision making form a cognitive system that ensures that decisions taken by the many are more likely to be right than decisions taken by the few. Democracy as a form of government is therefore valuable not only because it is legitimate and just, but also because it is smart. Landemore considers how the argument plays out with respect to two main mechanisms of democratic politics: inclusive deliberation and majority rule. In deliberative settings, the truth-tracking properties of deliberation are enhanced more by inclusiveness than by individual competence. Landemore explores this idea in the contexts of representative democracy and the selection of representatives. She also discusses several models for the "wisdom of crowds" channeled by majority rule, examining the trade-offs between inclusiveness and individual competence in voting. When inclusive deliberation and majority rule are combined, they beat less inclusive methods, in which one person or a small group decide. Democratic Reason thus establishes the superiority of democracy as a way of making decisions for the common good.

Inclusion and Democracy

Inclusion and Democracy

Democratic equality entails a principle that everyone whose basic interests are affected by policies should be included in the process of making them. Yet people often claim that they are unrepresented. This text explores the ideals of inclusion

Reason, Religion, and Democracy

Reason, Religion, and Democracy

The rise of religious fundamentalism in different parts of the world in recent years and its association with terrorism has led to renewed interest in the nature of religion and its compatibility with Western institutions. Much of the focus of this new interest has contrasted religion and science as systems of knowledge. This book also emphasizes the difference between religion and science as means for understanding causal relationships, but it focuses much more heavily on the challenge religious extremism poses for liberal democratic institutions. The treatment contains a discussion of human psychology, describes the salient characteristics of all religions, and contrasts religion and science as systems of thought. Historical sketches are used to establish a link between modernity and the use of the human capacity for reasoning to advance human welfare. The book describes the conditions under which democratic institutions can advance human welfare, and the nature of constitutional rights as protectors of individual freedoms. Extremist religions are shown to pose a threat to liberal democracy, a threat that has implications for immigration and education policies and the definition of citizenship.

Reason, Democracy, Society

A Treatise on the Basis of Legal Thinking

Reason, Democracy, Society

Reason, Democracy, Society deals with basic points of legal theory and philosophy of law. The main contention of the book relates to the insufficiencies of the legal positivistic approach. Some of its claims are that we must sharply separate what the law is from, what the law ought to be, and that we can know what the law is without appealing to meta-legal considerations. These and other claims are criticized. The author shows that with the legal positivistic approach we cannot know, in all cases, what the law is, if that is equated to the rules posited by the legislator. He also challenges H.L.A. Hart's and MacCormick's points of view, amongst others, about the characteristic corner stones of legal positivism. Some other issues relate to human rights, legal rationality and efficiency and ethics. This book will be of interest to philosophers concerned with law or ethics, those concerned with justice in modern society and to jurists and law students.