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Conscience and the Common Good: Reclaiming the Space Between Person and State Paperback

ISBN-13: 978-0521130707 ISBN-10: 0521130700 Edition: 1st

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 326 pages
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press; 1 edition (December 14, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0521130700
  • ISBN-13: 978-0521130707
  • Product Dimensions: 8.9 x 5.9 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,018,329 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"There is no freedom more essential to the flourishing of a truly liberal democracy than the freedom to live one's life in accord with the yield of one conscience-that is, with one's religious and/or moral convictions and commitments. And yet, the nature and implications of that freedom-which we may call freedom (or liberty) of conscience, and which of course cannot be absolute-are not well understood. Conscience and the Common Good is an excellent, engaging discussion of how to understand freedom of conscience and of how to protect it in a contemporary democracy, such as the United States, whose citizens disagree deeply among themselves about such morally fraught matters as abortion and same-sex marriage. Robert Vischer's book is must reading for citizens and scholars interested in freedom of conscience."
--Michael J. Perry, author of The Political Morality of Liberal Democracy


"When should claims of conscience override state-imposed norms of nondiscrimination and equal access to goods and services? Robert Vischer brings a fresh and subtle perspective to these questions, arguing for a "moral marketplace" in which, whenever possible, different groups and businesses follow competing moral norms. Vischer offers a probing and sophisticated analysis of a timely problem."
--Andrew Koppelman, author of A Right to Discriminate? How the Case of Boy Scouts of America v. James Dale Warped the Law of Free Association


"Safeguarding the conditions of human flourishing and freedom is rarely a simple matter of fending off government intrusion or asserting one's abstract rights. As readers of this volume will better appreciate, it turns out to involve a project of tending more deliberately to the overall social ecology, with attention to the complex ways people communicate and interact in shared spaces. Vischer's erudite and skillful analysis highlights the thick interpersonal commitments situated within the myriad associations that mediate between individuals and the state. Only within this context will a healthy respect for conscience be guaranteed today." - Thomas J. Massaro, America Magazine

Book Description

Conscience is formed, articulated, and lived out through relationships, and thus the liberty of conscience depends on the law's willingness to protect the associations and venues through which individual consciences can flourish: these are the myriad institutions that make up the space between the person and the state. Conscience and the Common Good reframes the debate about conscience by bringing its relational dimension into focus.

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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By P. Haverstock on May 20, 2011
Format: Paperback
Mr. Vischer gives a thorough and refreshingly non-partisan treatment of issues related to conscience. His illuminating discussion of conscience's "relational dimension" steers the discussion of rights clear of the typical hyper-individualism of Americans. Rather, he shows that individual rights can be protected more effectively when we view the human person not as an island but a social creature, who naturally forms associations to make his voice heard in the conversation between citizens and the State.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Star Gazer on January 8, 2010
Format: Paperback
Vischer writes on a topic that is much needed to properly define who we are and who we want to be. There needs to be a greater understanding of personal responsibility in society both here and around the globe.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By TJC on December 17, 2009
Format: Hardcover
Prof. Vischer is one of the most thoughtful commentators working in English today on the intersection of religion and society. This book cements his pre-eminent position in the legal academy, and is a must-read for all who care about these issues.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful By SLO on December 16, 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Since the market crash, sales of Ayn Rand's Atlas Shrugged have gone through the roof. It's time for a 21st century exploration of the line between the individual and the state, and Vischer's book could not be more topical. A must read.
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1 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Peter P. Fuchs on February 19, 2011
Format: Paperback
Surely one of the interesting stories for historians to investigate some day will be how in a time when gay rights were making headway everywhere, except in places like Uganda, some of the oldest university presses in the world were trying publish basically anti-gay pulp academic fodder. The why and wherefore of it somebody will ultimately know, but I bet the names of rich anti-gay business men will be involved. The types of people who think Roger Scruton is a sage. How else can one possibly explain a book like this? It is truly one of the most childish attempts at covering one's true intentions I have ever seen. You could sum up the whole thing by saying: it is OK to discriminate if you and a few others share the desire to discriminate. You just need to call conscience "relational". Naturally, a lot of talk about "intersubjectivity" and "relational" this and that is brought in to bolster the case that starts the book. A pair of photographers who dislike gay rights so much that they cannot even snap a photo of a gay wedding! This is what Cambridge University is publishing?? There must be a monied reason behind it. For by the time you reach this poor fellow's "Conclusion", and he pulls his bedraggled rabbit- out -of- his- hat, saying, -- you guessed it-- it is basically OK to discriminate if we consider conscience a relational matter, you feel you have been surreptitiously prepared for lobotomy. What is even worse is that the author Vischer is not content with such ramshackle conclusions. He must philosophize on it. He says that if the state is allowed to impose the good, then it will control all conversations about it. First, I love the very "with-it" insertion of the idea that it is all about ultimately having conversations about this and that.Read more ›
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