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Title page for ETD etd-04072009-115141

Type of Document Dissertation
Author VanderVeen, Zachary Jordan
Author's Email Address zach.vanderveen@vanderbilt.edu
URN etd-04072009-115141
Title Reconstructing Legitimacy
Degree PhD
Department Philosophy
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
Charles E. Scott Committee Co-Chair
John J Stuhr Committee Co-Chair
Brooke A Ackerly Committee Member
Jose Medina Committee Member
Noell McAfee Committee Member
  • Rawls
  • Dewey
  • Foucault
  • Democracy
  • Legitimacy
  • Political Theory
Date of Defense 2009-03-30
Availability unrestricted
Following an analysis of the theory and practice of traditional liberal democratic and moral philosophy from Locke to Rawls, I combine Dewey's pragmatic ethics and his suggestion that politics be understood as shared problem solving with Foucault's critique of institutions in order to rethink the methodologies for engaging in ethical and political problems, particularly global development issues like those facing the World Bank. I focus on how multiple publics, with the input but not the direction of experts, can determine the meaning of normative and theoretical work in their dealings with shared problems. This methodology for ethical and political inquiry requires the reconfiguration of the ethical and political concept of legitimacy as understood by Locke, Rawls, and many normative theorists. The new account of legitimacy I develop, I argue, provides a more effective approach for dealing with the pressing and plural value conflicts facing us today, because it helps identify the concrete ethical changes that they may require.
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