This book argues that contemporary liberal democracy is reaching a crisis. Brendan Sweetman contends that this crisis arises from a contentious pluralism involving the rise of incommensurable worldviews that emerge out of the absolutizing of freedom over time in a democratic setting. This clash of worldviews is further complicated by a loss of confidence in reason and by the practical failure of public discourse. A contributory factor is the growing worldview of secularism which needs to be distinguished from both the process of secularization and the concept of the secular state. After describing the crisis, and exploring these themes, and also rejecting proposed solutions from recent liberal political theory, Sweetman develops an approach to pluralist disagreement which requires a re-envisioning of the relationship between religion, secularism and politics, and which allows a limited place for all worldviews in the state, including religious worldviews. Engaging with the work of Philip Kitcher, Robert Audi, John Rawls, A.C. Grayling, Martin Luther King, Cécile Laborde, John Stuart Mill, John Locke, and Plato, Sweetman's approach is a formidable innovation in the quest to maintain a free and fair society.
Chapter 1: Introduction: Democracy in Crisis?- Chapter 2: Freedom and Disagreement in a Democracy.- Chapter 3: Worldviews, Pluralism, and Loss of Confidence in Reason.- Chapter 4: Democracy and Relativism.- Chapter 5: Religion, and the Rise of Secularism.- Chapter 6: Secularizing Society.- Chapter 7: Secular Liberalism and the Exclusion of Religious Worldviews.- Chapter 8: Public Reason.- Chapter 9: Worldviews in Politics, and the Failure of Liberalism.- Chapter 10: Re-envisioning Church and State.
Brendan Sweetman is Professor of Philosophy and holds the Sullivan Chair at Rockhurst University, USA. He is the author or editor of fifteen books, including, most recently, Evolution, Chance, and God (2015). Professor Sweetman is an elected Fellow of the International Society for Science and Religion and writes regularly in the areas of political philosophy, philosophy of religion, and European philosophy.
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