The Constitution of Equality: Democratic Authority and Its Limits

Paperback | August 1, 2010

byThomas Christiano

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What is the ethical basis of democracy? And what reasons do we have to go along with democratic decisions even when we disagree with them? And when do we have reason to say that we may justly ignore democratic decisions? These questions must be answered if we are to have answers to some of themost important questions facing our global community, which include whether there is a human right to democracy and whether we must attempt to spread democracy throughout the globe.This book provides a philosophical account of the moral foundations of democracy and of liberalism. It shows how democracy and basic liberal rights are grounded in the principle of public equality, which tells us that in the establishment of law and policy we must treat persons as equals in waysthey can see are treating them as equals. The principle of public equality is shown to be the fundamental principle of social justice. This account enables us to understand the nature and roles of adversarial politics and public deliberation in political life. It gives an account of the grounds ofthe authority of democracy. It also shows when the authority of democracy runs out. The author shows how the violations of democratic and liberal rights are beyond the legitimate authority of democracy, how the creation of persistent minorities in a democratic society, and the failure to ensure abasic minimum for all persons weaken the legitimate authority of democracy.

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From the Publisher

What is the ethical basis of democracy? And what reasons do we have to go along with democratic decisions even when we disagree with them? And when do we have reason to say that we may justly ignore democratic decisions? These questions must be answered if we are to have answers to some of themost important questions facing our global ...

Thomas Christiano is Professor of Philosophy and Law at the University of Arizona. He is the co-director of the Rogers Program in Law and Society, in the College of Law at the University of Arizona. He has been a visiting fellow of All Souls College, a visiting fellow at the Research School of the Social Sciences at Australian Nationa...

other books by Thomas Christiano

Format:PaperbackDimensions:320 pagesPublished:August 1, 2010Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0199549036

ISBN - 13:9780199549030

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Table of Contents

Introduction1. The Basis of Equality2. Social Justice and Public Equality3. Democracy as the Public Realization of Equality4. An Egalitarian Conception of Liberal Rights5. Equality and Public Deliberation6. The Authority of Democracy7. The Limits of Democratic Authority

Editorial Reviews

Review from previous edition: "In this carefully argued and thought provoking new book, Thomas Christiano offers a novel defense of democracy's intrinsic value... [many] stand to profit from engaging with The Constitution of Equality" --David Lefkowitz, Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews