On the mainstream liberal view it is both possible and desirable to separate out political and economic power from prescriptive normative views of how life ought to be led—at least beyond a relatively restricted ‘overlapping consensus’ about what constitutes the right process for resolving disputes about political leadership, justice and the economy. This is said to establish a public realm where claims to resources and recognition are framed in universal terms, and a private realm where particular beliefs about God, family and culture reside. Only by compromising views of politics justified by particular visions of the good life can we who value freedom and equality co-exist peacefully and prosperously, especially in an increasingly multi-cultural and socio-economically diverse world. In various ways the articles in this edition challenge this view, and offer more complex portrayals of the theoretical and empirical relationships between democracy, morality and discipline.
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