Affirmative Action and Racial Preference: A Debate

Paperback | October 7, 2004

byCarl Cohen, James P. Sterba

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Racial preferences are among the most contentious issues in our society, touching on fundamental questions of fairness and the proper role of racial categories in government action. Now two contemporary philosophers, in a lively debate, lay out the arguments on each side. Carl Cohen, a key figure in the University of Michigan Supreme Court cases, argues that racial preferences are morally wrong--forbidden by the 14th Amendment to the Constitution, and explicitly banned by the Civil Rights Act of 1964. He also contends that such preferences harm society ingeneral, damage the universities that use them, and undermine the minorities they were intended to serve. James P. Sterba counters that, far from being banned by the Constitution and the civil rights acts, affirmative action is actually mandated by law in the pursuit of a society that is raciallyand sexually just. The same Congress that adopted the 14th Amendment, he notes, passed race-specific laws that extended aid to blacks. Indeed, there are various kinds of affirmative action--compensation for past discrimination, remedial measures aimed at current discrimination, the guarantee ofdiversity--and Sterba reviews the Supreme Court cases that build a constitutional foundation for each. Affirmative action, he argues, favors qualified minority candidates, not unqualified ones. Both authors offer concluding comment on the University of Michigan cases decided in 2003. Half a century after Brown v. Board of Education, issues pertaining to racial discrimination continue to grip American society. Ideal for courses in political, social, ethical, and legal philosophy, this penetrating debate explores the philosophical and legal arguments on all sides ofaffirmative action, but also reveals the passions that drive the issue to the forefront of public life.

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Racial preferences are among the most contentious issues in our society, touching on fundamental questions of fairness and the proper role of racial categories in government action. Now two contemporary philosophers, in a lively debate, lay out the arguments on each side. Carl Cohen, a key figure in the University of Michigan Sup...

Carl Cohen is a Professor of Philosophy at University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. James P. Sterba is a Professor of Philosophy at the University of Notre Dame.

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Format:PaperbackDimensions:416 pages, 5.39 × 8.11 × 1.18 inPublished:October 7, 2004Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0195148959

ISBN - 13:9780195148954

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Table of Contents

Preface One, Carl CohenPreface Two, James P. SterbaCasesSECTION ONE: WHY RACE PREFERENCE IS WRONG AND BAD, Carl CohenPrologue: Wrongness and Badness: PART I: EQUALITY AND RACE PREFERENCE1. Equality as a Moral Ideal2. Affirmative Action3. Race Preference: The Transformation of Affirmative ActionPART II: WHY RACE PREFERENCE IS WRONG4. Race Preference Is Morally Wrong5. Race Preference Is Against the Law6. Race Preference Violates the ConstitutionPART III: WHY RACE PREFERENCE IS BAD7. Race Preference Is Bad for the Minorities Preferred8. Race Preference Is Bad for the Universities that Give Preference9. Race Preference Is Bad for Society as a WholeEpilogue: The Future of Race Preference: SECTION TWO: DEFENDING AFFIRMATIVE ACTION, DEFENDING PREFERENCES, James P. Sterba1. A Legal History of Affirmative Action in the United States2. A Definition of Affirmative Action3. A Defense of Outreach Affirmative Action4. A Defense of Remedial Affirmative Action5. Remedial Affirmative Action and the U.S. Supreme Court6. Racial Discrimination v. Sexual Discrimination7. A Better Standard of Proof for Remedial Affirmative Action8. A Defense of Diversity Affirmative Action9. Objections to Affirmative Action10. Affirmative Action outside the United StatesConclusion: SECTION THREE: REPLY TO JAMES P. STERBA, Carl CohenSECTION FOUR: REPLY TO CARL COHEN, James P. SterbaSECTION FIVE: COMMENTS ON THE SUPREME COURT DECISION, Carl Cohen and James P. SterbaBibliography: Index: