Book Reviews 141 Robert B. Talisse, Democracy after Liberalism: Pragmatism and Deliberative Politics (New York and Abingdon: Routledge, 2005), 162 pp. ISBN 041595019X (pbk). Hard- back/Paperback: £50.00/15.99. This is an ambitious, complex and compact book which deserves a wide readership. Talisse argues that two of the desiderata of liberal democratic theory are incom- patible. On the one hand, liberals are committed to social pluralism, diversity, and toleration of different views of the good life. This is identified with a commitment to ‘political neutrality’, that is, to the impartiality of the state with respect to the various views of the good life possessed by its citizens. On the other hand, liberals seek to show that liberalism is superior to non-liberal, non-democratic ways of organizing political life, and so possesses a legitimacy that the latter lack. Liberalism must either aim to provide a robust account of this legitimacy, and so frustrate their commitment to pluralism, or accommodate pluralism at the price of giving up a robust account of the superiority of liberal values. Talisse traces and pursues this tension in several recent and prominent statements of liberalism, including John Rawls’s theory of justice and later ‘political liberalism’, William Galston’s value
Journal of Moral Philosophy – Brill
Published: Jan 1, 2007
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