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The Practice of Liberal Pluralism


  • Page extent: 216 pages
  • Size: 228 x 152 mm
  • Weight: 0.405 kg

Library of Congress

  • Dewey number: 320.51/3
  • Dewey version: 22
  • LC Classification: JC574 .G372 2005
  • LC Subject headings:
    • Liberalism
    • Pluralism (Social sciences)

Library of Congress Record


 (ISBN-13: 9780521840347 | ISBN-10: 0521840341)

The Practice of Liberal Pluralism defends a theory, liberal pluralism, which is based on three core concepts - value pluralism, political pluralism, and expressive liberty - and explores the implications of this theory for politics. Liberal pluralism helps clarify some of the complexities of real-world political action and points toward a distinctive conception of public philosophy and public policy. It leads to a vision of a good society in which political institutions are active in a delimited sphere and in which, within broad limits, families, civil associations, and faith communities may organize and conduct themselves in ways that are not congruent with principles that govern the public sphere. The final section of the book defends liberal pluralism against attacks that it is internally incoherent or that it denies, without justification, key theological premises. Written in a nontechnical style, this book should appeal to professionals in philosophy, political science, law, and policy making.

• Galston is a well-respected political philosopher, with experience both in the political and academic worlds • Written in a straightforward, non-technical language


1. Introduction; Part I. Philosophical Dimensions of Liberal Pluralism: 2. Value pluralism and its critics; 3. Political pluralism and limits on state power; 4. Expressive liberty and constitutional democracy: the case of freedom of conscience; Part II. Liberal Pluralism and Public Action: 5. Value pluralism and political means: toughness as a political virtue; 6. Value pluralism and motivational complexity: the case of cosmopolitan altruism; Part III. Politics, Markets, and Civic Life in Liberal Pluralist Societies: 7. The public and its problems; 8. The effects of modern markets on civic life; 9. The politics of reciprocity: the theory and practice of mutualism; Part IV. Defending Liberal Pluralism: 10. Liberal pluralism and liberal egalitarianism; 11. Liberal pluralism between monism and diversity; 12. Conclusion: liberal pluralism at home and abroad.


'Galston … combines in a way quite rare in the world of political philosophy sustained theoretical argument with attention to its empirical presuppositions and consequences. He shows an enviable grasp of the practical and institutional issues of our time, and he is constantly concerned to relate high theory to such concrete matters as economic policy and civic participation. The present collection displays both these virtues in characteristically Galstonian fashion.' Charles Larmore, University of Chicago

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