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Democracy After Liberalism: Pragmatism and Deliberative Politics [Hardcover]

Robert Talisse
3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
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Book Description

Nov. 9 2004 041595018X 978-0415950183 1
This book critically evaluates liberalism, the dominant attempt in the tradition of political philosophy to provide a philosophical foundation for democracy, and argues for a conception of deliberative democracy to meet this need.

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Product Description


No one wishing to possess a concise yet conceptually comprehensive account of the questions bedeviling liberalism will be disappointed with Robert B. Talisse's Democracy After Liberalism
. -- New Political Science

 A concise and clear assessment of contemporary political theory...This is a book to be read with profit by professor, student, and layperson alike. Talisse skillfully summarizes debates that fill shelves of books, providing accounts that not only are conceptually clear but also frame the debate for further investigation...The virtue of Democracy After Liberalism is that it successfully clarifies the positions and the stakes of contemporary debates in political philosophy. In the end, Talisse himself cannot be said to have offered more than one highly plausible and engaging resolution to the confusion of political ideas in which we live. This is no mean accomplishment, and Democracy After Liberalism makes for rewarding reading...  Liberalism is not finished yet; not in fact and certainly not within the form of deliberativism set forth in Talisse's excellent book. --Project Muse

About the Author

Robert Talisse is Assistant Professor of PHilosophy at Vanderbilt University. He has written several books including On Dewey (2000), On Rawls (2001) and On James (2004). He is also the co-editor of the forthcoming American Philosophy: An Encyclopedia (Routledge).

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Long on Scope, Short on Rigor Nov. 15 2006
Talisse's book reads well as a succinct account of the greatest problem with democratic dialogue at present, and he sets out to offer a progressive form of compromise based on an epistemological model that seems to be practical in essence, at least potentially. However, I think he might have been too succinct to achieve successfully that which he set out to do.

Unfortunately, Talisse did not want to be bogged down with definitions of democracy. Democracy as we know it has been organic since ancient days, and so that seemed a respectable stance to take. Yet, Talisse seems to fall into his own trap; he includes no description of what he takes democracy to mean for fear of being bridled, but then he seems to assume a fairly narrowly-conceived use of the term. In fact, he seems to equivocate democracy with liberalism, and anti-liberalism with opposition to democracy, from early on (p. 24). This has the unfortunate effect of making Talisse's political purposes transparent from the outset, and his political philosophy more rhetorical in nature as a result.

Similarly, Talisse bases his argument at other points of the book on deriving conceptual equivalences that are not only highly debatable, but often lack the logical flow that might have given him greater credibility. For instance, a social paradigm that gives priority to the community over the individual is not necessarily one that lacks a basis for equality or toleration. There may indeed be a good argument for this, but it is a premise that remains unsubstantiated through the text. In fact, many of Talisse's assumptions seem to be unobjective and ideological in nature. Thus, as he claims that "what is needed is a deliberative account of democracy that is not precommitted to liberal or antiliberal goals," (p.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Concise, Sharp and Suggestive May 6 2005
By Brody - Published on
This short book covers more ground than most twice its length. Talisse argues that popular forms of liberalism (Rawls, Rorty, Galston) cannot meet their own standard of neutral justification. He then offers a fascinating epistemological defense of democracy. My only complaint is this book could have been longer. Sometimes the arguments move very quickly and the conclusions in the final chapter could have been expanded. But as it is, this book is lean and to the point.
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