Philosophy and Social Criticism 42 (7):640-648 (2016)

In The Democratic Horizon: Hyperpluralism and the Renewal of Political Liberalism, Alessandro Ferrara seeks a philosophical breakthrough from what looks like it could be a pending dead-end for democracy. The best hope, Ferrara superbly maintains, lies through an extension or updating – a “renewal,” as he calls it – of lines of thought bequeathed to us, by John Rawls and others, under the name of political liberalism. Somewhere near the crux of Ferrara’s reflection stands a class of institutional fixtures whose name is missing from his title. I mean the class “constitution.” I use that word to name a country’s scriptural basic law, its publicly cognizable corpus of canonically worded sentences ordaining the country’s basic institutional framework. My suggestion will be that it is no less tellingly a “constitutional” than a “democratic” horizon that Ferrara’s work, in conjunction with Rawls’s, shows us to be facing.
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DOI 10.1177/0191453716628923
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