Legal Pragmatism

Legal Pragmatism

Community, Rights, and Democracy
Michael Sullivan
Distribution: World
Publication date: 06/14/2007
ISBN: 978-0-253-11698-7
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In Legal Pragmatism, Michael Sullivan looks closely at the place of the individual and community in democratic society. After mapping out a brief history of American legal thinking regarding rights, from communitarianism to liberalism, Sullivan gives a rich and nuanced account of how pragmatism worked to resolve conflicts of self-interest and community well-being. Sullivan’s view of pragmatism provides a comprehensive framework for understanding democracy, as well as issues such as health care, education, gay marriage, and illegal immigration that will determine its character in the future. Legal Pragmatism is a bold, carefully argued book that presents a unique understanding of contemporary society, law, and politics.

Author Bio

Michael Sullivan is Assistant Professor of Philosophy at Emory University.


“Against the charge . . . that pragmatism fails to take rights seriously, Sullivan responds that pragmatism provides us with the best account of why we should take rights seriously.”
 — Cheyney Ryan, University of Oregon

“[This book] represents an genuine breakthrough . . . . [It] will have a large influence on the course of jurisprudential reflection in the decades ahead.”
 — Bruce Ackerman, Yale University

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Table of Contents


1. What's Right with Rights and Wrong with Communitarianism?
2. Taking Rights and Pragmatism Seriously
3. Posner's Unpragmatic Pragmatism
4. Toward a Reconstructive Pragmatism
5. Reconstructing Judicial Review
6. Pragmatism, Genealogy, and Democracy

Selected Bibliography