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Liberalism and Value Pluralism (Political Theory and Contemporary Politics) [Hardcover]

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Item Specifications...

Pages   276
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 1" Width: 5.5" Height: 8.5"
Weight:   1.05 lbs.
Binding  Hardcover
Release Date   May 1, 2002
Publisher   Continuum International Publishing Group
ISBN  0826450482  
EAN  9780826450487  

Availability  0 units.

Item Description...
Value pluralism is the idea, associated with the late Isaiah Berlin, that fundamental human values are irreducibly plural and incommensurable. Ends like liberty, equality and community are intrinsic goods which can neither be ranked in an absolute hierarchy nor translated into units of a common denominator. If that is true, how can we choose among such values when they come into conflict in particular cases? In particular, what reason is there to justify the value ranking characteristic of liberal democracy, favouring personal autonomy and toleration? Recent commentators have seen value pluralism as undermining the traditional claims of liberalism to universal authority, rendering it at best no more than one political form among others with no greater claim to legitimacy. Against that view, George Crowder argues that a strong distinctive case for liberalism as a universal project is implied by value pluralism itself. Reflection on the elements of value pluralism yields a set of ethical principles, including respect for universal values, rejection of political utopianism, promotion of value diversity, accommodation of reasonable disagreement, and cultivation of civic virtues. Those principles are best satisfied by a liberal form of politics characterised by a strong commitment to personal autonomy, by policies of moderate redistribution and multiculturalism, and by constitutional restraints on democractic politics. This is the first book-length defence of liberalism on the basis of value pluralism, complementing and extending the work of Berlin and others.>

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More About George Crowder

Register your artisan biography and upload your photo! George Crowder has taught political philosophy in Britain, the United States, Eastern Europe, and Australasia, and is currently Senior Lecturer in Political Theory at Flinders University, Adelaide, Australia.

George Crowder has an academic affiliation as follows - Flinders University, Adelaide University of California, Berkeley Flind.

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Reviews - What do our customers think?
Value pluralism and it's consequences for politics  Jan 4, 2008
Value monism is the idea that there is only one thing of value (pleasure?) or that at least it is possible to define a single common currency (money?) in terms of which the value of all things can be measured. Value pluralism is simply the rejection of value monism.

Crowder does a good job of arguing that if value pluralism is true we should prefer a more leftist political system. I believe, however, that Crowder is unaware of the most powerful evidence in his favor.

Although capitalism and most economists assume a single measure of value (money or utility) there is a significant literature that claims to prove that this is mathematically impossible (see, for instance, "The non-existence of a utility function and the structure of non-representable preference relations", A. F. Beardon, et al, Journal of Mathematical Economics, vol. 37, pg 17, 2002 and references therein).

There are simply any number of valuables which can not be given a monetary value (your vote, a decision in a court case, the love of your wife, etc.). If you have any doubt that human society exhibits value pluralism you need only observe the legal system. Upon being found guilty of some crimes it is only required that you pay a fine (money) whereas in other cases you must pay with your life, or some years worth (jail term, probation, community service). No one would be satisfied to see a serial killer merely pay a fine each time he took another life.

In fact, a few economists have considered a pluralistic utility theory (see, for example, "Multidimensional utilities" chap. XII in Decision Processes, R. M. Thrall, ed., Wiley, 1960).

Crowder tends to be overly kind to capitalism. Capitalism assumes a very strong form of value monism (money/utility) which is now discredited. I believe the prefered political system is rather further to the left than Crowder believes.

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