1st Edition

Epistemic Liberalism A Defence

By Adam James Tebble Copyright 2016
    298 Pages
    by Routledge

    298 Pages
    by Routledge

    In the wake of what has come to be called the ‘cultural turn’, it is often asked how the state should respond to the different and sometimes conflicting justice claims made by its citizens and what, ultimately, is the purpose of justice in culturally diverse societies.

    Building upon the work of a diversity of theorists, this book demonstrates that there is a distinct ‘epistemic’ tradition of liberalism that can be used to critique contemporary responses to cultural diversity and their underlying principles of justice. It critically examines multicultural, nationalist and liberal egalitarian approaches and argues that an epistemic account of liberalism, that emphasises social complexity rather than cultural diversity or homogeneity, is the most appropriate response to the question of justice in modern culturally diverse societies.

    Epistemic Liberalism will be of interest to students and scholars of contemporary political theory and philosophy, liberal political theory and the politics of culture and identity.

    Introduction Part I: The Knowledge Problem Revisited 1 Hayek and the Knowledge Problem 2 Justice and Complex Adaptation Part II: Justice and the Arbitration of Cultural Practice 3 Difference, Democracy and the Politics of Inclusion 4 The Politics of National Identity 5 Complex Adaptation and the Culture of Welfare Part III: Epistemic Liberalism 6 The Permissive Society 7 Why Permit Permissiveness?


    Adam Tebble is Lecturer in Political Theory at King’s College London.

    "Hayek’s prediction of the Soviet Union’s collapse was based on his theory that no central planner could generate the kind of coordination-enabling information that the price mechanism generates. Epistemic Liberalism extracts related insights from a range of thinkers to trace the history of a distinctively epistemic liberal tradition according to which liberal societies generate and disperse information, with benefits ranging beyond the economic sphere. Tebble’s book is itself an inspiring example of liberal society at its knowledge-creating best." - Professor David Schmidtz, University of Arizona, USA

    "Adam Tebble's Epistemic Liberalism tackles one of the most critical issues of our time for political and social theory - namely the dealing with and addressing of the social distance that often divides us in terms of ethnicity, linguistics and religion. His work not only provides an excellent intellectual history of epistemic liberalism, but it exposes the conceit of those who believe they have offered definitive arguments for an overarching theory of the moral order. The liberal project, if reconstructed along an "institutional turn" and an "epistemic turn", can find a way to tap into and utilize our differences to produce a more coherent and vibrant social order." – Professor Peter Boettke, George Mason University, USA