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Coping in Politics with Indeterminate Norms
A Theory of Enlightened Localism
Coping in Politics with Indeterminate Norms
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Benjamin Gregg - Author
SUNY Series in Political Theory: Contemporary Issues
SUNY series in Radical Social and Political Theory
Price: $54.50 
Hardcover - 220 pages
Release Date: July 2003
ISBN10: 0-7914-5781-8
ISBN13: 978-0-7914-5781-8

Quantity:  
Price: $31.95 
Paperback - 220 pages
Release Date: July 2003
ISBN10: 0-7914-5782-6
ISBN13: 978-0-7914-5782-5

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Summary Read First Chapter image missing

Argues that social equity and legal justice are possible even in the absence of universal political norms.

Are social equity, political fairness, and legal justice possible within a liberal political order, even if norms are indeterminate? The modern world is distinguished by both its complexity and the absence of a single theory, principle, or tradition with the authority to constrain us. Coping in Politics with Indeterminate Norms demonstrates that while moral validity is relative rather than absolute, and cultural meanings local rather than universal, social integration and democratic politics are still attainable goals. Benjamin Gregg fashions a theory that combines proceduralism with pragmatism—an "enlightened localism"—that adjudicates among competing normative commitments and interpretations using local criteria in the absence of universal standards. The theory is applied to three empirical domains: social criticism, public policy, and law and morality.

"Gregg shows that while proceduralism and relativism are tempting responses to normative indeterminacy, they are inadequate. His own position uniquely joins diverse disciplinary approaches to show that a pragmatic, enlightened localism need not mean parochialism, narrow-mindedness, and the like. Tightly argued and often provocative, his position makes perfect sense." — Dick Howard, author of The Specter of Democracy

"Gregg demonstrates that efforts to deny or overcome normative indeterminacy fail. His argument that pragmatism (distinguished from postmodernism) is an effective means for coping with normative indeterminacy is strong and effective." — Richard A. Posner, author of Law, Pragmatism, and Democracy

Benjamin Gregg is Associate Professor of Government at The University of Texas at Austin and the author of Thick Moralities, Thin Politics: Social Integration Across Communities of Belief.


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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments

Introduction

I: THE PROBLEM: INDETERMINATE NORMS

1. Indeterminacy in Social and Political Norms

II: THE SOLUTION: BASIC COMPONENTS

2. Coping with Indeterminacy through Proceduralism

3. Coping with Indeterminacy through Pragmatism

III: THE SOLUTION: LOCALISM WITHOUT PAROCHIALISM

4. Enlightened Localism in Social Critique

5. Enlightened Localism in Public Policy

6. Enlightened Localism in Law and Morality

Coda: Social Cooperation in the Absence of Political Unity

Notes

Bibliography

Index



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