Books by Brights

Coping in Politics with Indeterminate Norms: A Theory of Enlightened Localism

Author: Benjamin Gregg
Published by: State University of New York Press, 2003, In two series:

  • SUNY series in Radical Social and Political Theory
  • SUNY series in Political Theory: Contemporary Issues

ISBN (Hardcover): 0-7914-5781-8
ISBN (Paperback): 0-7914-5782-6
To Purchase: Amazon USA / Amazon UK


This work argues that social equity and legal justice are possible even in the absence of universal political norms.

Are social equity, political fairness, and legal justice possible within a liberal political order, even if norms are indeterminate? The modern world is distinguished by both its complexity and the absence of a single theory, principle, or tradition with the authority to constrain us. Coping in Politics with Indeterminate Norms demonstrates that while moral validity is relative rather than absolute, and cultural meanings local rather than universal, social integration and democratic politics are still attainable goals. Benjamin Gregg fashions a theory that combines proceduralism with pragmatisman "enlightened localism"that adjudicates among competing normative commitments and interpretations using local criteria in the absence of universal standards. The theory is applied to three empirical domains: social criticism, public policy, and law and morality.

About the Author

Benjamin Gregg is Associate Professor of Government at The University of Texas at Austin and the author of Thick Moralities, Thin Politics: Social Integration Across Communities of Belief.

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