On the People's Terms

On the People's Terms : A Republican Theory and Model of Democracy

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According to republican theory, we are free persons to the extent that we are protected and secured in the same fundamental choices, on the same public basis, as one another. But there is no public protection or security without a coercive state. Does this mean that any freedom we enjoy is a superficial good that presupposes a deeper, political form of subjection? Philip Pettit addresses this crucial question in On the People's Terms. He argues that state coercion will not involve individual subjection or domination insofar as we enjoy an equally shared form of control over those in power. This claim may seem utopian but it is supported by a realistic model of the institutions that might establish such democratic control. Beginning with a fresh articulation of republican ideas, Pettit develops a highly original account of the rationale of democracy, breathing new life into democratic theory.

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Product details

  • Paperback | 347 pages
  • 152 x 224 x 18mm | 557.92g
  • CAMBRIDGE UNIVERSITY PRESS
  • Cambridge, United Kingdom
  • English
  • 0521182123
  • 9780521182126
  • 187,147

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Review quote

"Republican theory's lighthouse figure Phillip Pettit's much awaited and more recent book on democracy offers a sum of his whole oeuvre in practical philosophy ... As the title indicates, Pettit not only develops a theoretical argument, he also sketches practical avenues as to how the theory might and should guide our tuning of western democracies. Philosophers and social scientists alike will be intrigued, challenged, and nourished as they explore the book's pages.' Jean-Francois Gregoire, Ethical Perspectives 'Pettit provides a thorough, sophisticated account of contemporary republican political thought, and the book would serve as a useful introduction to the topic ... he shows how republicanism differs from both communitarianism and liberalism, contrasting his view with thinkers such as Hobbes and Rawls, on the one hand, and Rousseau, on the other. Summing up: recommended. Upper-division undergraduate, graduate and research collections.' P. R. Babbitt, Choice 'This is an excellent, closely argued book, remarkable for its clarity and consistency. It is highly accessible and stimulating, especially given its exploration of actual democratic institutions. The book is also highly relevant in showing how political philosophers can pay attention to legitimacy as an independent normative feature of political orders.' Yann Allard-Tremblay, The Philosophical Quarterly

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About Philip Pettit

Philip Pettit is L. S. Rockefeller University Professor of Politics and Human Values at Princeton University and also Distinguished Professor of Philosophy at the Australian National University. His books include The Common Mind, Republicanism, Rules, Reasons and Norms and Made with Words: Hobbbes on Language, Mind and Politics. Among his recent co-authored books are The Economy of Esteem, with Geoffrey Brennan; A Political Philosophy in Public Life, with Jose Marti; and Group Agency, with Christian List. A collection of papers on his work, Common Minds: Themes from the Philosophy of Philip Pettit, appeared in 2007.

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