Law, Justice, Democracy, and the Clash of Cultures

Law, Justice, Democracy, and the Clash of Cultures : A Pluralist Account

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The Cold War ideological battle with universal aspirations has given way to a clash of cultures as the world concurrently moves toward globalization of economies and communications and balkanization through a clash of ethnic and cultural identities. Traditional liberal theory has confronted daunting challenges in coping with these changes and with recent developments such as the spread of postmodern thought, religious fundamentalism and global terrorism. This book argues that a political and legal philosophy based on pluralism is best suited to confront the problems of the twenty-first century. Pointing out that monist theories such as liberalism have become inadequate and that relativism is dangerous, the book makes the case for pluralism from the standpoint of both theory and its applications. The book engages with thinkers, such as Spinoza, Kant, Hegel, Rawls, Berlin, Dworkin, Habermas and Derrida and with several subjects that are at the center of current controversies.show more

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Review quote

"Michel Rosenfeld began a project more than a dozen years ago of articulating a doctrine of 'comprehensive pluralism' that could respond to the problems that liberal democratic societies face, given the facts of both reasonable and unreasonable challenges to the core values of the Enlightenment project. Sadly, events since 9/11 have made the political and normative task he set for himself even more urgent, a testament to the prescience of that early work. His new book tackles the problems of the present, exemplified in the confrontation between the West and the Muslim 'other', with great frankness and clarity. Once again the reader is treated to the rare talent of a thinker who is genuinely himself pluralist, and who can thus show that mainstream political philosophy and constitutional and legal theory, on the one hand, and postmodern and social theories, on the other, are engaged in a common debate in which all have something valuable to contribute." - David Dyzenhaus Professor of Law and Philosophy, University of Toronto "A masterful guide to the perplexing theoretical and practical issues confronting us... Deeply anchored in classical and contemporary philosophical traditions, Rosenfeld offers the rich horizon of a comprehensive pluralism well attuned to the challenges of the contemporary world of globalism and cultural clashes..." - Shlomo Avineri Professor of Political Science, The Hebrew University of Jerusalemshow more

About Michel Rosenfeld

Michel Rosenfeld is the Justice Sydney L. Robins Professor of Human Rights at the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law, where he is also Director of the Program on Global and Comparative Constitutional Theory. He is the co-editor-in-chief of International Journal of Constitutional Law and the author or co-editor of numerous books, most recently The Oxford Handbook of Comparative Constitutional Law (2011) (co-edited with Andras Sajo) and The Identity of the Constitutional Subject: Selfhood, Citizenship, Culture and Community (2010). Among his many honors, Rosenfeld received the French government's highest and most prestigious award, the Legion of Honor.show more

Table of contents

Part I. Liberal Justice and Fleeting Specters of Unity: 1. Reframing comprehensive pluralism: Hegel versus Rawls; 2. Equality and the dialectic between identity and difference; 3. Human rights and the clash between universalism and relativism: the case of minority group rights; Part II. E Pluribus Unum?: 4. Spinoza's dialectic and the paradoxes of tolerance: can unity be willed out of necessity?; 5. The clash between deprivatized religion and relativized secularism: the constitutional conundrum; 6. Dworkin and the one law principle: can unity be imposed through an interpretive turn?; Part III. Can Pluralism Thrive in Times of Stress? On Globalization, Terror and the Clash of Cultures: 7. Rethinking political rights in times of stress: can pluralism thwart the progression from stress to crisis?; 8. Derrida's deconstructive ethics of difference confronts global terrorism: can democracy survive the autoimmune ravage of the terror within us?; 9. Habermas's discourse ethics of identity and global terror: can cosmopolitanism, postnationalism, and dialogue downsize the terrorist threat?; 10. Conclusion: the hopes of pluralism in a more unified and more fragmented world.show more