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On Compromise and Rotten Compromises
Avishai Margalit

Book Description | Table of Contents
Introduction [in PDF format]


"Yet there's a strain in Margalit's observations that packs a realist punch. Recognizing that we are 'forced by circumstances to settle for much less than we aspire to' on issues of justice, we ought to be 'judged by our compromises more than by our ideals and norms. Ideals may tell us something important about what we would like to be. But compromises tell us who we are.' In taking that line, Margalit shines light on a truth about real-world justice that few theorists acknowledge: It's impossible to correct all the injustices done in this world since time immemorial, let alone all injustices that might be open to correction. We lack not just means of implementation--we lack data on the uncountable injustices that have ever taken place."--Carlin Romano, Chronicle Review

"Through historical examples and analytic precision, Margalit succeeds in revealing a moral basis and its implications for the often overlooked but crucially important political and individual activity of compromise. Margalit's exploration into the conception of compromise features lucid distinctions and engaging language, creating a book that is capable of speaking to nonacademics and academics alike. . . . [T]his book is valuable for anyone seeking an insightful account of the interrelationship between the political and moral and serves as a starting point for further philosophical study regarding compromise."--Choice

"Margalit's work provides a useful tool for those who may walk into environments of potential compromise in the future, to assist them to make the best possible decisions with the information available to them at the time."--Amanda Stoker, Book Review Queensland Library

"The best political theory (and this includes Hegel) brings together these two goals--the retrospective and the prospective. Avishai Margalit's On Compromise and Rotten Compromises is in this respect exemplary. Margalit wants to clarify issues in political morality that have tremendous urgency today, and he seeks to do so partly by reflecting on events in our past. His book is an uncommon example of philosophical argument informed by acute historical awareness."--David McCabe, Commonweal

"Margalit concludes that we should be judged not according to the norms and values that we affirm, but based upon the compromises we accept. It is a proposition that informs the extremely eloquent and thought-provoking argument he presents in this very welcome analysis of an important topic."--Shaun P. Young, Political Studies Review


"Avishai Margalit has turned a fierce spotlight on a neglected but important area of ethics, when compromises are morally acceptable. He introduces new and compelling distinctions and illuminates a number of major issues in contemporary and recent historical events."--Kenneth J. Arrow, winner of the Nobel Prize in economics

"This book will stimulate wide discussion because compromise--when to make them, when to resist them--is a vital subject in political life, and because Avishai Margalit is universally respected for his analytical skills and moral discernment. The examples give the book historical depth and importance, and the writing is sprightly, precise, and accessible, with memorable turns of phrase. The book reeled me in and held my attention for the duration."--Michael Ignatieff, author of The Lesser Evil: Political Ethics in an Age of Terror

"This book is tremendously important for its introduction and treatment of a fundamental but neglected topic in political philosophy. It also stands out for its writing, with examples and anecdotes introducing rigorous and detailed argumentation without in any way interrupting the narrative flow."--Arthur Ripstein, University of Toronto

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File created: 4/21/2017

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