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Consensus and Global Environmental GovernanceDeliberative Democracy in Nature's Regime$
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Walter F. Baber and Robert V. Bartlett

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780262028738

Published to MIT Press Scholarship Online: September 2015

DOI: 10.7551/mitpress/9780262028738.001.0001

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The Calculus of Consensus in Juristic Democracy

The Calculus of Consensus in Juristic Democracy

Between the Possible and Desirable

(p.169) 10 The Calculus of Consensus in Juristic Democracy
Consensus and Global Environmental Governance

Walter F. Baber

Robert V. Bartlett

The MIT Press

Some question the possibility of consensus, others doubt its desirability. Pluralist skeptics argue that consensus is impossible because of social complexity and hyper-pluralism, and cognitive skeptics find consensus to be impossible as a consequence of the limits of rationality. Pluralist critics condemn consensus because it threatens the repression of diversity, and cognitive critics think consensus undesirable because of the risks it poses of poor decision making. The juristic approach to democracy offers responses to each of these clusters of doubt and criticism, providing a normative framework for a path of evolving practical solutions to otherwise intractable problems faced by an emergent system of earth system governance. Consensus is both possible and desirable. Similar pragmatic responses to environmental challenges recur across cultures and populations precisely because they work. Activity in the international public sphere—marked as it is by an unavoidable search for consensus—can lead the way toward more just resolutions of disputes. It does not have to labor under a democratic deficit. With respect to matters environmental, the fruit of the natural and social sciences can be brought to bear on processes of solving concrete problems in ways that increasingly square with identifiable consensual norms about right and wrong.

Keywords:   Consensus, Juristic, Pluralist, Cognitive, Diversity, Pragmatic, Norms

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