Gerald Gaus draws on current work in epistemology and cognitive psychology to defend a modest version of cognitive relativism. Building on this theory of personal justification, he asks, "How do we justify moral and political principles to others?" Here, the "populist" proposal put forward by "political liberals"--that the assent of all reasonable citizens must be obtained--is considered and rejected. Because reasonable people often ignore excellent reasons, moral and political principles can be considered conclusively justified, even in the face of some reasonable dissent. Conclusive justification, however, is difficult to achieve, and Gaus acknowledges that most of our public justifications are inconclusive. He then addresses the question of how citizens can adjudicate their inconclusive public justifications. The rule of law, liberal democracy and limited judicial review are defended as elements of a publicly justified umpiring procedure.
This accessible introductory text discusses how people in a pluralistic society such as ours can accept a common social ethic - a publicly justified morality. It presents analyses of the basic concepts, including justifications of liberty, harm to others, private property rights, distributive justice, environmental harms, help to others and offensive behaviour. Gaus acquaints the reader with the major figures in social philosophy - John Stuart Mill, Jeremy Bentham, Thomas Hobbes, John Locke, David Hume, John Rawls, David Gauthier, and Joel Feinberg - as well as recent communitarian philosophers. The basic technical aspects of social philosophy are also introduced: game theory, social choice theory, the ideas rational action, rational bargaining, and public goods. Throughout, helpful short examples and stories are used to illustrate the material.
This important new book takes as its points of departure two questions: What is the nature of valuing? and What morality can be justified in a society that deeply disagrees on what is truly valuable? In Part One, the author develops a theory of value that attempts to reconcile reason with passions. Part Two explores how this theory of value grounds our commitment to moral action. The author argues that rational moral action can neither be seen as a way of simply maximising one's own values, nor derived from reason independent of one's values. Rather, our commitment to the moral point of view is presupposed by our value systems. The book concludes with a defense of liberal political morality.
In his provocative new book, The Tyranny of the Ideal, Gerald Gaus lays out a vision for how we should theorize about justice in a diverse society. Gaus shows how free and equal people, faced with intractable struggles and irreconcilable conflicts, might share a common moral life shaped by a just framework. He argues that if we are to take diversity seriously and if moral inquiry is sincere about shaping the world, then the pursuit of idealized and perfect theories of justice—essentially, the entire production of theories of justice that has dominated political philosophy for the past forty years—needs to change. Drawing on recent work in social science and philosophy, Gaus points to an ...
On Philosophy, Politics and Economics is an introductory text covering the basics of instrumental rationality, utility theory, game theory, axiomatic social choice theory and public choice theory. It is ideally suited to introductory courses on political economy and ppe programs, as well as advanced undergraduate social and political philosophy courses. The presentation is non-mathematical. On Philosophy, Politics, and Economics does not presuppose background in economics, and so is ideal for non-economists interested in formal analyses of social and political interaction.THE WADSWORTH PHILOSOPHICAL TOPICS SERIES presents readers with concise, timely, and insightful introductions to a variet...
In this innovative and important work, Gerald Gaus advances a revised and more realistic account of public reason liberalism, showing how, in the midst of fundamental disagreement about values and moral beliefs, we can achieve a moral and political order that treats all as free and equal moral persons. The first part of this work analyzes social morality as a system of authoritative moral rules. Drawing on an earlier generation of moral philosophers such as Kurt Baier and Peter Strawson as well as current work in the social sciences, Gaus argues that our social morality is an evolved social fact, which is the necessary foundation of a mutually beneficial social order. The second part considers how this system of social moral authority can be justified to all moral persons. Drawing on the tools of game theory, social choice theory, experimental psychology and evolutionary theory, Gaus shows how a free society can secure a moral equilibrium that is endorsed by all, and how a just state respects, and develops, such an equilibrium.
The Handbook of Political Theory is a latest addition to the SAGE Handbook collection. As with all of our handbooks this is a definitive and benchmark publication that covers all aspects of a given subject. This handbook is an essential purchase for everyone interested in Political Theroy.
Essays on Philosophy, Politics, & Economics offers a critical examination of economic, philosophical, and political notions, with an eye towards working across all three, so that students and scholars from can expand their perspectives as they approach the necessarily complex research questions of today and tomorrow.
This work advances a theory of deliberation about the goals, projects and values that constitute a good or worthwhile life for a person. The central argument begins with the assumption that the concerns most people have in this kind of deliberation are to discover which goals are worth pursuing, or which ends worth valuing, given those features of ourselves that we find important on reflection, and choose our goals and values in such a way that our choices can bear our reflective scrutiny.