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Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read. Want to Read saving…. Want to Read Currently Reading Read. Other editions. Enlarge cover. Error rating book. Refresh and try again. Open Preview See a Problem? Details if other :. Thanks for telling us about the problem. Return to Book Page. The Decent Society by Avishai Margalit. Avishai Margalit builds his social philosophy on this foundation: a decent society, or a civilized society, is one whose institutions do not humiliate the people under their authority, and whose citizens do not humiliate one another.
What political philosophy needs urgently is a way that will permit us to live together without humiliation and with dignity. Most of the philo Avishai Margalit builds his social philosophy on this foundation: a decent society, or a civilized society, is one whose institutions do not humiliate the people under their authority, and whose citizens do not humiliate one another.
Most of the philosophical attention nowadays is drawn to the ideal of the just society based on the right balance between freedom and equality.
The ideal of the just society is a sublime one but hard to realize. The decent society is an ideal which can be realized even in our children's lifetime. We should get rid of cruelty first, advocated Judith Shklar. Humiliation is a close second. There is more urgency in bringing about a decent society than in bringing about a just one.
Margalit begins concretely where we live, with all the infuriating acts of humiliation that make living in the world so difficult. He argues in a concrete way in the spirit of Judith Shklar and Isaiah Berlin. This is a social philosophy that resists all those menacing labels that promote moral laziness, just as it urges us to get beyond the behavior that labels other human beings.
Margalit can't be earmarked as liberal or conservative. If a label is necessary, then the most suitable is George Orwell's humane socialism, a far cry from Animal Farm socialism with its many tools of oppression. How to be decent, how to build a decent society, emerges out of Margalit's analysis of the corrosive functioning of humiliation in its many forms.
This is a thoroughly argued and, what is much more, a deeply felt book that springs from Margalit's experience at the borderlands of conflicts between Eastern Europeans and Westerners, between Palestinians and Israelis.
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Lists with This Book. This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Community Reviews. Showing Average rating 3. Rating details. More filters. Sort order. Start your review of The Decent Society. Jun 04, Graeme rated it really liked it. A very interesting work on the notion of the decent society as one with non-humiliating political institutions. However, one weakness of the work is that humiliation is connected to being given a reason to feel ashamed of belonging to a morally legitimate encompassing group.
Yet, the exact nature of what it means to be given a reason to feel humiliated, versus being caused to feel humiliated is a bit murky. Margalit sees the fact that a member of a disadvantaged group feels humiliated as a prima A very interesting work on the notion of the decent society as one with non-humiliating political institutions.
Margalit sees the fact that a member of a disadvantaged group feels humiliated as a prima facie reason to think they had a reason to feel humiliated, but it is not clear what would constitute evidence that they did in fact not have a reason to feel humiliated, but were just overtly sensitive to criticism or negative images.
Similarly, the notion of morally legitimate encompassing groups is not given enough explanation. Margalit points out that nations are morally legitimate encompassing groups, while the mafia is not, and therefore a society is decent, even if it gives members of the mafia a reason to feel humiliated.
Presumably this is because the mafia is committed to violence, crime and intimidation, whereas nations are not. However, if this is the case, then the ethic of decency seems to presume a liberal understanding of the morally legitimate. I happen to agree with this understanding of the morally legitimate, but it needs to be defended rather than assumed.
Nov 30, Elle rated it liked it. The decent society is a necessary prelude to a just society according to Margalit, and a decent society is one that does not humiliate those who depend on it. Humiliation occurs when someone dependent on a state or a group is considered outside the boundary of concern, and treated as less than those who consider themselves members of that state or group.
Margalit examines unemployment and prisoners in his exposition of humiliation and decency, and in his pursuit of justice. A fascinating and fri The decent society is a necessary prelude to a just society according to Margalit, and a decent society is one that does not humiliate those who depend on it. A fascinating and friendly read, on the easily comprehensible side of political philosophy, with an approach applicable to relationships and social goods as areas of concern.
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ISBN 13: 9788449324260