In her new book, Michele S. Moses offers a crucial new pathway for thinking about the debate surrounding educational affirmative action, one that holds the debate itself as an important emblem of the democratic process.
Moses is Professor and Associate Dean for Graduate Studies in the School of Education at the University of Colorado Boulder. She is an international expert on race-conscious education policy and democratic theory and specializes in philosophy and education policy studies, with particular expertise affirmative action and other equal opportunity policies. Her current research is aimed at gaining a deeper understanding of the roots of the political debates over race-conscious policies that profoundly affect meaningful opportunities for higher education.
Her new book, Living with Moral Disagreement: The Enduring Controversy about Affirmative Action, examines the nature of persistent moral disagreement over affirmative action, touching on controversial issues such as race-consciousness and social justice. Much of the book is written both for and against affirmative action policies — especially within the realm of educational opportunity.
Lawrence Blum, from the University of Massachusetts Boston called it “a unique book on affirmative action, one that sees this polarizing topic through the lens of deliberative democratic theory, as an opportunity for civic dialogue among those with divergent opinions.”
Jeannie Oakes, from the University of California, Los Angeles, called it "highly readable yet deeply analytical account" and “a compelling argument that democratic deliberation and dialogue can help us build bridges to productive ways of living with these fundamental differences and arrive at new agreements that support our diverse democracy.”
To buy this book, please click here.
How to handle affirmative action is one of the most intractable policy problems of our era, touching on controversial issues such as race-consciousness and social justice. Much has been written both for and against affirmative action policies—especially within the realm of educational opportunity. In this book, philosopher Michele S. Moses offers a crucial new pathway for thinking about the debate surrounding educational affirmative action, one that holds up the debate itself as an important emblem of the democratic process.
Central to Moses’s analysis is the argument that we need to understand disagreements about affirmative action as inherently moral, products of conflicts between deeply held beliefs that shape differing opinions on what justice requires of education policy. As she shows, differing opinions on affirmative action result from different conceptual values, for instance, between being treated equally and being treated as an equal or between seeing race-consciousness as a pernicious political force or as a necessary variable in political equality. As Moses shows, although moral disagreements about race-conscious policies and similar issues are often seen as symptoms of dysfunctional politics, they in fact create rich opportunities for discussions about diversity that nourish democratic thought and life.
Related Faculty: Michele S. Moses