Principles and Political Order: The Challenge of Diversity

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The liberal and democratic political order is underpinned by universal principles of justice. However, the universality of these principles is now being questioned and undermined by challenges from postmodernism, communitarianism, multiculturalism and other forms of anti-foundationalism. These challenges highlight the sheer diversity of cultures and values, treating liberal values and democratic political culture as one idea of social organization amongst many. While social and political orders are capable of almost endless variation, it may be that not every diverse order is legitimate and we can justifiably regard some forms of social organization as beyond the pale and a 'thin' form of universalism has been developed to support this contention. The core idea behind 'thin universalism' is that it is possible to rehabilitate the universalist aspirations of normative theory while acknowledging the force of many antifoundationalist and multiculturalist criticisms of universalism. This book brings together prominent international political theorists to explain and discuss this contested concept and explore how we can stand up for and act upon principles in a world characterized by cultural difference, moral skepticism, and political division. The authors present a variety of perspectives: some chapters are sympathetic to the idea of a thin universalist account of justification, some are reluctant advocates and others are skeptical about its success or even desirability. Opening out core debates in contemporary normative theory, this volume will be of great interest to researchers and scholars working in the fields of contemporary political theory, political philosophy and IRtheory.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780415663809
  • Publisher: Taylor & Francis
  • Publication date: 6/23/2011
  • Pages: 224
  • Product dimensions: 6.14 (w) x 9.21 (h) x 0.48 (d)

Table of Contents

1 Nation and universe 10
2 Thin universalism : moral authority and contemporary political theory 42
3 Thin universalism as weak foundationalism 60
4 Thin universalism and the 'limits' of justification 76
5 How do principles work? 97
6 Why thin universalism needs conceptions of society and person 111
7 Proceduralism as thin universalism : Stuart Hampshire's 'procedural justice' 128
8 Gender equality and cultural justice : how thin is Nussbaum's universalism? 147
9 Thin universalism and cultural identity : the case of Welsh nationalism 160
10 Thin universalism and distributive justice 176
11 Rawls on human rights : liberal or universal? 192
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