Jason Ferrell

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Institutions have often been characterized as responses to conflict, and assumptions about the nature of conflict have frequently determined the structure and scope of political activity. Two prevalent interpretations of conflict portray it as either a contest of interest or a competition for resources. Yet there is another view of conflict that regaré it in terms of a contest of values, something that raises a different set of questions and issues. These issues involve concerns about the incommensurability and incompatibility of values, and challenge contemporary arguments that rely upon the ordering of preferences or that urge the pursuit of a normative consensus. As I argue, both preference based theories and theories of deliberative democracy prove to deal inadequately with the challenges of moralpluralism and value conflict.

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