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Civil Passions: Moral Sentiment and Democratic Deliberation

Sharon R. Krause

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ISBN 10: 0691137250 / ISBN 13: 9780691137254
Published by Princeton University Press, 2008
Used Condition: Good Hardcover
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Title: Civil Passions: Moral Sentiment and ...

Publisher: Princeton University Press

Publication Date: 2008

Binding: Hardcover

Book Condition:Good

About this title


Must we put passions aside when we deliberate about justice? Can we do so? The dominant views of deliberation rightly emphasize the importance of impartiality as a cornerstone of fair decision making, but they wrongly assume that impartiality means being disengaged and passionless. In Civil Passions, Sharon Krause argues that moral and political deliberation must incorporate passions, even as she insists on the value of impartiality. Drawing on resources ranging from Hume's theory of moral sentiment to recent findings in neuroscience, Civil Passions breaks new ground by providing a systematic account of how passions can generate an impartial standpoint that yields binding and compelling conclusions in politics. Krause shows that the path to genuinely impartial justice in the public sphere--and ultimately to social change and political reform--runs through moral sentiment properly construed. This new account of affective but impartial judgment calls for a politics of liberal rights and democratic contestation, and it requires us to reconceive the meaning of public reason, the nature of sound deliberation, and the authority of law. By illuminating how impartiality feels, Civil Passions offers not only a truer account of how we deliberate about justice, but one that promises to engage citizens more effectively in acting for justice.

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"'Our minds are changed when our hearts are engaged,' With these words, Civil Passions takes a giant step forward in understanding the affective dimensions of political deliberation. Krause's challenge to the reason-based theories of Kant, Rawls, and Habermas, among others, will be debated--perhaps fiercely--by the next generation. She lays bare the fault lines of the issue and makes a compelling argument for basing moral motivation in affect. She also suggests how we might base moral norms themselves in reflective sentiments, or impartial feelings about feelings. The book is thoughtful and inspired, powered by acute powers of analysis and a lively sensibility."--Jane Mansbridge, Harvard University

"In recent years scholars have increasingly argued that affect plays a greater role in our practical reasoning than is traditionally admitted. Krause agrees, but she also knows that this insight is really only the announcement of the need for a major undertaking: understanding exactly how passions necessarily inform our reason and how 'civil passions' and 'affective impartiality' ought to guide our judgment, deliberation, and decision making in moral and political life. Her book takes up this task with real imagination, careful argumentation, and original insight."--Stephen K. White, University of Virginia

"Civil Passions is an ambitious attempt to restore Hume's account of moral sentiment as an alternative to the Kantian perspective that dominates contemporary political theory, and to flesh out the significance of the Humean approach for contemporary liberal democracy. This is an important book."--William A. Galston, Brookings Institution

"This superb book is beautifully written; contains an elegant and finely honed argument; and makes a highly original contribution to contemporary deliberative democratic theory, contemporary theories of emotions in politics, and the philosophical literature on David Hume. Krause puts forward a clearer and more convincing account of the role played by sentiments and concerns in the processes of democratic deliberation and norm justification than any other contemporary theorist of affect."--Christina Tarnopolsky, McGill University

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