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Toleration, Diversity, and Global Justice

Toleration, Diversity, and Global Justice

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The first book to present a full-scale critique of Rawlsian liberalism as extended to international relations.

"This is an intelligent, perceptive, and well-written book, the first that tries to unite a critical discussion of the philosophical core of political liberalism with an examination of its application to international relations. All of the central problems of international political theory (at least those that have preoccupied the literature) are attended to, and the discussions of individual normative issues (self-determination, intervention, etc.) are well integrated into the author's overall theory. The study rests on a broad reading of the pertinent literature; indeed, it could function as a guide to the current philosophical literature on international justice for a scholar or graduate student who wanted to get acquainted with it."—Charles R. Beitz, Bowdoin College

"Liberalism involves commitments to personal freedom and mutual tolerance. How are these commitments to be balanced? Must a liberal order tolerate nonliberal groups and practices within itself, even if doing so is costly in term’s of personal autonomy? What are the limits of such tolerance? These questions, which arise in global and intrastate contexts, are systematically answered by the liberal philosophy developed in this clear and elegant book by Kok-Chor Tan. Although inspired by Rawls, Tan’s liberalism provides a unified and compelling alternative to the liberal vision Rawls has constructed in Political Liberalism [1993] and The Law of Peoples [1999]. Tan’s alternative covers the full ground, from deep methodological reflections to concrete questions of institutional design. This is a powerful first work."—Thomas W. Pogge, Columbia University

The "comprehensive liberalism" defended in this book offers an alternative to the narrower "political liberalism" associated with the writings of John Rawls. By arguing against making tolerance as fundamental a value as individual autonomy, and extending the reach of liberalism to global society, it opens the way for dealing more adequately with problems of human rights and economic inequality in a world of cultural pluralism.