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Civil Disagreement

Personal Integrity in a Pluralistic Society

Edward Langerak

Publication Year: 2014

How can we agree to disagree in today's pluralistic society, one in which individuals and groups are becoming increasingly polarized by fierce convictions that are often at odds with the ideas of others? Civil Disagreement: Personal Integrity in a Pluralistic Society shows how we can cope with diversity and be appropriately open toward opponents even while staying true to our convictions. This accessible and useful guide discusses how our conversations and arguments can respect differences and maintain personal integrity and civility even while taking stances on disputed issues. The author examines an array of illustrative cases, such as debates over slavery, gay marriage, compulsory education for the Amish, and others, providing helpful insights on how to take firm stands without denigrating opponents. The author proposes an approach called "perspective pluralism" that honors the integrity of various viewpoints while avoiding the implication that all reasonable views are equally acceptable or true.

Civil Disagreement offers a concise yet comprehensive guide for students and scholars of philosophical or religious ethics, political or social philosophy, and political science, as well as general readers who are concerned about the polarization that often seems to paralyze national and international politics.

Published by: Georgetown University Press

Title Page, Copyright Page

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pp. i-iv

Contents

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pp. v-vi

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Preface

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pp. vii-x

A pluralistic society is one that includes individuals and groups with different and conflicting convictions about what constitutes a good life. These convictions are so important to the personal identities of its members that their integrity requires open disagreement with one another. But maintaining the social...

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Chapter One: Conversations and Arguments

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pp. 1-30

Is it possible for a group of human beings to live their lives together without sooner or later having serious disagreements and conflicts? This question raises an ancient debate. On the one hand, it seems that too many of us—maybe at some level all of us—are self-interested creatures who see ourselves in insecure...

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Chapter Two: Conflicts and Pluralisms

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pp. 31-76

Pluralism is talked about so often and so loosely these days that it has a plurality of meanings. I will distinguish various types of pluralism, but the labels I give them are not universally used; indeed, sometimes the labels are used in contradictory ways. So we should attend primarily to the content of the descriptions...

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Chapter Three: Toleration and Respect

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pp. 77-106

Our story so far is that in a pluralistic society we can and should engage in open-minded conversations during which we listen as much as we talk, engage in sincere dialogues during which we try to see the issues the way others do, and engage in mutual inquiries during which we patiently and fair-mindedly...

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Chapter Four: Laws and Dissenters

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pp. 107-142

Much of what has been discussed so far applies primarily to disagreements and conflicts between individuals in their personal interactions. I have offered a conceptual framework that I hope helps us think through appropriate ways to respond when we have differences on issues that are important to us. For...

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Chapter Five: Civil Disagreement: Conclusion

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pp. 143-146

The preceding chapters have raised at least as many questions as they have provided answers. Indeed, the viewpoint underlying this book is that, in a society with interesting diversities, questions and disagreements are more likely than agreement on answers. The issue is whether we can share our disagreements in...

Works Cited

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pp. 147-156

Index

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pp. 157-170


E-ISBN-13: 9781626160347
E-ISBN-10: 1626160341

Page Count: 176
Publication Year: 2014