In this carefully argued and thought provoking new book, Thomas Christiano offers a novel defense of democracy's intrinsic value, its morally justifiable claim to authority, and the limits thereof, as well as for liberal rights. Central to Christiano's argument for each of these conclusions is the claim that in a moderately complex and pluralist society, social justice requires that people be treated publicly as equals. That is, ordinary agents must be able to see that the institutions and practices that provide the basic structure of the society in which they live treat them as equals, or what is the same, that such institutions aim to advance their interests equally. Only in a liberal-democratic state that also provides its citizens with an economic minimum will justice not only be done but also be seen to be done.

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Copyright © 2009, University of Notre Dame's Department of Philosophy. This article first appeared in Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews (2009).

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