On Compromise and Rotten Compromises

A searching examination of the moral limits of political compromise


Jul 21, 2013
5 x 8 in.
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When is political compromise acceptable—and when is it fundamentally rotten, something we should never accept, come what may? What if a rotten compromise is politically necessary? Compromise is a great political virtue, especially for the sake of peace. But, as Avishai Margalit argues, there are moral limits to acceptable compromise even for peace. But just what are those limits? At what point does peace secured with compromise become unjust? Focusing attention on vitally important questions that have received surprisingly little attention, Margalit argues that we should be concerned not only with what makes a just war, but also with what kind of compromise allows for a just peace.

Examining a wide range of examples, including the Munich Agreement, the Yalta Conference, and Arab-Israeli peace negotiations, Margalit provides a searching examination of the nature of political compromise in its various forms. Combining philosophy, politics, and history, and written in a vivid and accessible style, On Compromise and Rotten Compromises is full of surprising new insights about war, peace, justice, and sectarianism.

Awards and Recognition

  • Winner of the 2012 Philosophical Book Award, The Hannover Institute of Philosophical Research
  • Avishai Margalit, Winner of the 2012 Ernst-Bloch-Prize