The Constitution of Equality: Democratic Authority and Its Limits

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Overview

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 the most 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.

The Constitution of Equality 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 ways they 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 of the authority of democracy. It also shows when the authority of democracy runs out. Christiano 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 a basic minimum for all persons weaken the legitimate authority of democracy.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"In this carefully argued and thought provoking new book, Thomas Christiano offers a novel defense of democracy's intrinsic value EL[many] stand to profit from engaging with The Constitution of Equality"—Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780198297475
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press
  • Publication date: 7/15/2008
  • Pages: 320
  • Product dimensions: 6.10 (w) x 9.30 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Thomas Christiano is Professor of Philosophy and Law, and 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 National University, and a fellow of the National Humanities Center. Thomas Christiano has published articles widely in the areas of democratic theory, distributive justice, and political philosophy.

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Table of Contents

Introduction
1. The Basis of Equality
2. Social Justice and Public Equality
3. Democracy as the Public Realization of Equality
4. An Egalitarian Conception of Liberal Rights
5. Equality and Public Deliberation
6. The Authority of Democracy
7. The Limits of Democratic Authority

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