The Political Problem of Religious Pluralism: And Why Philosophers Can't Solve It

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9780739141687: The Political Problem of Religious Pluralism: And Why Philosophers Can't Solve It
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In contemporary political philosophy, there is much debate over how to maintain a public order in pluralistic democracies in which citizens hold radically different religious views. The Political Problem of Religious Pluralism deals with this theoretically and practically difficult issue by examining three of the most influential figures of religious pluralism theory: John Rawls, Jacques Maritain, and Alasdair MacIntyre. Drawing on a diverse number of sources, Kozinski addresses the flaws in each philosopher's views and shows that the only philosophically defensible end of any overlapping consensus political order must be the eradication of the ideological pluralism that makes it necessary. In other words, a pluralistic society should have as its primary political aim to create the political conditions for the communal discovery and political establishment of that unifying tradition within which political justice can most effectively be obtained.

Kozinski's analysis, though exhaustive and rigorous, still remains accessible and engaging, even for a reader unversed in the works of Rawls, Maritain, and MacIntyre. Interdisciplinary and multi-thematic in nature, it will appeal to anyone interested in the intersection of religion, politics, and culture.

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About the Author:

Thaddeus J. Kozinski is assistant professor of humanities and philosophy at Wyoming Catholic College.

Review:

In this work Thaddeus Kozinski tackles the prickly problem of religious pluralism. ... [T]his [is] an immensely important work that challenges the dominant religious and secular positions on how we ought to understand and deal politically with religious pluralism. It raises a number of important questions, foremost among them how Christians ought to understand and operate within contemporary political structures where there is no neutrality. It also develops a sophisticated critique of the supposed compatibility of the Christian tradition with liberal political theory. Finally, it convincingly shows that we cannot avoid taking a position on theological questions when developing political theories and policy. (The Thomist)

Dr. Kozinski’s work is a masterful exposition of three of the most important political philosophers of the twentieth century. His two chapters on each form an excellent introduction for the novice political philosopher as well as a detailed critique of each of them for the expert. Having searched out the core principles of each, Dr. Kozinski finds them all wanting in different respects....Upon a thorough reading of Dr. Kozinski’s book, the conclusion that a system committed to deep pluralism on principle, like contemporary America, is not a true commonwealth is inescapable. Yet, he holds open the hope that it could become one. In doing so he sets an agenda for much philosophical work to be done. (Georgetown Journal of Law and Public Policy)

What Kozinski does provide concretely to his reader is an appreciation that politics is inseparable from theology. Political ideals and practices are premised upon beliefs in metaphysical truths, even as the existence of such truths might be denied. He notes that liberalism is as much a religion as Catholicism. With his incisive understanding of the strengths and weaknesses of liberalism and Thomistic Catholicism as intellectual traditions, he succeeds in his primary objective of setting the groundwork for the type of dialogue he advocates—one guided by a regulative idea of truth knowable to its participants. (Star Book Review)

Kozinski presents a penetrating and interesting analysis of three philosophers who address the political problem of living in a religiously pluralist society. This book comes out of a doctoral thesis and has the marks of close extensive reading, careful engagement with secondary texts, and the beginnings of the most interesting alternative position which necessarily remains underdeveloped. (International Journal of Political Theology)

For anyone seeking insight into the deeper philosophical issues of our present political conundrum, The Political Problem of Religious Pluralism - And Why Philosophers Can't Solve It is a worthy book that deserves a careful reading. (The Latin Mass: A Journal Of Catholic Culture and Tradition)

Kozinski's book is a substantial and interesting piece of work, and it raises important questions in an engaging way. There is much to be learned from it, and from reflection about it. (International Journal for Philosophy of Religion)

It is a delightfully astute and provocative book. . . .The Political Problem of Religious Pluralism is a fine first book. Originating as a dissertation, its analyses are comprehensive yet readable and engaging. Interdisciplinary by nature, it will attract readers well-versed in the writings of Rawls, Maritain, and MacIntyre, as well as for whom these names are little more than encyclopaedia entries. (Heythrop Journal)

In this rigorously argued book, Thaddeus Kozinski suggests that critiques of liberalism must find their resolution in the idea of a confessional state. Those of us who disagree will be forced to offer equally rigorous defenses of a Christian politics that is neither liberal nor state-centered. Any contemporary vision of a theological politics must take this book's stimulating and provocative argument into account. (William T. Cavanaugh, Center for World Catholicism and Intercultural Theology and DePaul University)

A sophisticated, cumulative case for the moral limitations and metaphysical bankruptcy of liberal political philosophy―even in its Catholic (Maritainian) form. Drawing on the much-discussed MacIntyre but going beyond him, the author shows why civil society, and the State, need a sacral keystone to complete the arch of a comprehensive human good. My only disappointment is that the book ended so soon, before displaying what a humane theopolitically legitimated State might look like: I await with eagerness a sequel where the author will do justice to his constructive as well as analytic gifts. (Aidan Nichols, OP, Blackfriars, Cambridge)

Thaddeus Kozinski belongs to a new generation of Catholic scholars for whom the social consensus of the 1950s is something known only from oral history and old movies, and the Catholic social theory formulated within that context is woefully inadequate to meet the challenges of the twenty-first century. This work brings the theories of John Rawls, Jacques Maritain and Alasdair MacIntyre into dialog and reaches the conclusion that there are problems within the realm of political theory that cannot be solved philosophically―solutions need to be found elsewhere. Kozinski's book is on the cutting edge of a new generation of Catholic political theory and will be valuable for students of political theory everywhere regardless of their theological backgrounds. (Tracey Rowland, John Paul II Institute)

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