Reasonable, agonistic, or good?: The character of a democrat

Philosophy and Social Criticism 35 (8):961-983 (2009)
Postmodernists reject what they call the universalist-rationalist framework of liberalism. When they do defend liberal democracy, they do so in a contextualist manner (within a ‘form of life’) and on the basis of contestation (‘agonism’). Liberals are right to charge postmodernism with self-contradiction, relativism, and immoralism. It is also argued in this article that liberalism and postmodernism are incompatible, and therefore, they cannot be joined together in response to the hegemonic construction of democratic debate. However, liberals are caught in a bind as they insist on impartiality but also believe the exercise of virtue (reasonableness, mutual respect) is a requirement of rational dialogue. This article argues that perfectionism (objectivism) in value judgements is required both to insist that virtuousity is a requirement of rationality and to reject postmodernism. However, it must be possible to separate perfectionism from two features of Alasdair MacIntyre’s Aristotelianism: he is hostile to liberal rights and his contextualism results in relativism
Keywords No keywords specified (fix it)
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1177/0191453709340639
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

Our Archive

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 35,976
Through your library

References found in this work BETA

No references found.

Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

Non-Coercive Promotion of Values in Civic Education for Democracy.A. Fives - 2013 - Philosophy and Social Criticism 39 (6):577-590.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

The Role of Character in Business Ethics.Edwin M. Hartman - 1998 - Business Ethics Quarterly 8 (3):547-559.
Reasons and Religious Belief.David Michael Levin - 1969 - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy 12 (1-4):371 – 393.
Stability and Openness of Character.Robert Roberts - 2011 - Southern Journal of Philosophy 49 (s1):208-213.
Agonistic Critiques of Liberalism: Perfection and Emancipation.Thomas Fossen - 2008 - Contemporary Political Theory 7 (4):376–394.


Added to PP index

Total downloads
2 ( #950,141 of 2,293,920 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
1 ( #412,142 of 2,293,920 )

How can I increase my downloads?

Monthly downloads

My notes

Sign in to use this feature