Cover: Law, Pragmatism, and Democracy, from Harvard University PressCover: Law, Pragmatism, and Democracy in PAPERBACK

Law, Pragmatism, and Democracy

Add to Cart

Product Details

PAPERBACK

$33.00 • £26.95 • €29.50

ISBN 9780674018495

Publication Date: 10/31/2005

Short

416 pages

6-1/8 x 9-1/4 inches

1 line illustration

World

A liberal state is a representative democracy constrained by the rule of law. Richard Posner argues for a conception of the liberal state based on pragmatic theories of government. He views the actions of elected officials as guided by interests rather than by reason and the decisions of judges by discretion rather than by rules. He emphasizes the institutional and material, rather than moral and deliberative, factors in democratic decision making.

Posner argues that democracy is best viewed as a competition for power by means of regular elections. Citizens should not be expected to play a significant role in making complex public policy regarding, say, taxes or missile defense. The great advantage of democracy is not that it is the rule of the wise or the good but that it enables stability and orderly succession in government and limits the tendency of rulers to enrich or empower themselves to the disadvantage of the public. Posner’s theory steers between political theorists’ concept of deliberative democracy on the left and economists’ public-choice theory on the right. It makes a significant contribution to the theory of democracy—and to the theory of law as well, by showing that the principles that inform Schumpeterian democratic theory also inform the theory and practice of adjudication. The book argues for law and democracy as twin halves of a pragmatic theory of American government.

Recent News

Black lives matter. Black voices matter. A statement from HUP »

From Our Blog

Jacket: American Sutra: A Story of Faith and Freedom in the Second World War, by Duncan Ryūken Williams, Harvard University Press

Celebrating Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month

In celebration of Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month, we’re showcasing titles that document the Asian American experience. This week we have an excerpt from Duncan Ryūken Williams’s Los Angeles Times bestseller, American Sutra: A Story of Faith and Freedom in the Second World War. George Takei called it “A must-read for anyone interested in the implacable quest for civil liberties, social and racial justice, religious freedom, and American belonging.”