A Democratic Theory Of Judgment

Paperback | December 12, 2016

byLinda M. G. Zerilli

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In this sweeping look at political and philosophical history, Linda M. G. Zerilli unpacks the tightly woven core of Hannah Arendt’s unfinished work on a tenacious modern problem: how to judge critically in the wake of the collapse of inherited criteria of judgment. Engaging a remarkable breadth of thinkers, including Ludwig Wittgenstein, Leo Strauss, Immanuel Kant, Frederick Douglass, John Rawls, Jürgen Habermas, Martha Nussbaum, and many others, Zerilli clears a hopeful path between an untenable universalism and a cultural relativism that forever defers the possibility of judging at all.
           
Zerilli deftly outlines the limitations of existing debates, both those that concern themselves with the impossibility of judging across cultures and those that try to find transcendental, rational values to anchor judgement. Looking at Kant through the lens of Arendt, Zerilli develops the notion of a public conception of truth, and from there she explores relativism, historicism, and universalism as they shape feminist approaches to judgment. Following Arendt even further, Zerilli arrives at a hopeful new pathway—seeing the collapse of philosophical criteria for judgment not as a problem but a way to practice judgment anew as a world-building activity of democratic citizens. The result is an astonishing theoretical argument that travels through—and goes beyond—some of the most important political thought of the modern period.
 

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In this sweeping look at political and philosophical history, Linda M. G. Zerilli unpacks the tightly woven core of Hannah Arendt’s unfinished work on a tenacious modern problem: how to judge critically in the wake of the collapse of inherited criteria of judgment. Engaging a remarkable breadth of thinkers, including Ludwig Wittgenstei...

Linda M. G. Zerilli is the Charles E. Merriam Distinguished Service Professor of Political Science and professor of gender and sexuality studies at the University of Chicago. She is the author of Signifying Woman: Culture and Chaos in Rousseau, Burke, and Mill and Feminism and the Abyss of Freedom, the latter published by the Universit...

other books by Linda M. G. Zerilli

Format:PaperbackDimensions:400 pages, 9 × 6 × 1 inPublished:December 12, 2016Publisher:University Of Chicago PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:022639798X

ISBN - 13:9780226397986

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“An elegant, beautifully written, and intelligent attempt to answer the fundamental question of fair evaluative judgments in a democratic polity. Zerilli argues that judgment that aims at fairness in a pluralist society does not need to be rendered as a merely procedural guide for adjudication among irreconcilable values. And she also argues that to make judgment a politically creative and reflecting function of evaluation does not necessarily entail falling into the trap of relativism or the identification of rationality with the reasons set forth by the winners in the game of politics. To solve these entrenched problems, Zerilli takes inspiration from Hannah Arendt, whose work guides her through a journey of interpretation and theoretical analysis that is absolutely brilliant.”