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This text examines the relationship between the idea of legitimacy of law in a democratic system and equality. It seeks to demonstrate how a conception of democratic legitimacy is necessary for understanding and reconciling equality and political legitimacy.
Based on interviews with thousands of citizens and political decisions makers, the book focuses on modern Canadian politics, investigating why a country so fortunate in its history and circumstances is on the brink of dissolution.
Derived from Thomas Nagel's Locke Lectures, Equality and Partiality proposes a nonutopian account of political legitimacy, based on the need to accommodate both personal and impersonal motives in any credible moral theory, and therefore in any political theory with a moral foundation. Within each individual, Nagel believes, there is a division between two standpoints, the personal and the impersonal. Without the impersonal standpoint, there would be no morality, only the clash, compromise, and occasional convergence of individual perspectives. It is because a human being does not occupy only his own point of view that each of us is susceptible to the claims of others through private and public morality. Political systems, to be legitimate, must achieve an integration of these two standpoints within the individual. These ideas are applied to specific problems such as social and economic inequality, toleration, international justice, and the public support of culture. Nagel points to the problem of balancing equality and partiality as the most important issue with which political theorists are now faced.
This analysis of the concept of authority in Western society constitutes a central work in political sociology and a fundamental critique of the process of modernization. Schaar proposes that legitimate authority is declining in the modern state. Law and order, in a very real sense, is the basic political issue of our time -- one that conservatives have understood with greater clarity than their liberal adversaries. Schaar sees what were once authoritative institutions and ideas yielding to technological and bureaucratic orders. The later brings physical comfort and a sense of collective power, but does not provide political liberty or moral autonomy. As a result, he argues, all modern states exhibiting this transformation of authority into technology are well advanced along the path of a crisis of legitimacy.
This book offers a systematic treatment of the requirements of democratic legitimacy. It argues that democratic procedures are essential for political legitimacy because of the need to respect value pluralism and because of the learning process that democratic decision-making enables. It proposes a framework for distinguishing among the different ways in which the requirements of democratic legitimacy have been interpreted. Peter then uses this framework to identify and defend what appears as the most plausible conception of democratic legitimacy. According to this conception, democratic legitimacy requires that the decision-making process satisfies certain conditions of political and epistemic fairness.
Democracy is increasingly seen as the only legitimate form of government, but few people would regard international relations as governed according to democratic principles. Can this lack of global democracy be justified? Which models of global politics should contemporary democrats endorse and which should they reject? What are the most promising pathways to global democratic change? To what extent does the extension of democracy from the national to the international level require a radical rethinking of what democratic institutions should be? This book answers these questions by providing a sustained dialogue between scholars of political theory, international law and empirical social science. By presenting a broad range of views by prominent scholars, it offers an in-depth analysis of one of the key challenges of our century: globalizing democracy and democratizing globalization.
In addressing democracy, equality, and justice together, the book stimulates discussions that go beyond the sometimes increasingly technical and increasingly discrete literatures that now dominate the study of each concept. The chapters fall into four categories: on justice and democracy; justice and equality; justice and community; and justice and the future. Concerns of justice unite all the chapters in this volume. However, these concerns now manifest themselves in interesting and new directions. Politically, the book confronts urgent problems of democracy, equality, community, and of how to respond to potentially catastrophic climate change. The response to these problems cannot only be pragmatic and piecemeal. What emerges are a number of interlinking questions and themes that together constitute the central core of contemporary political philosophy. This book was previously published as a special issue of the Critical Review of Social and Political Philosophy.

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