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Strong ConstitutionsSocial-Cognitive Origins of the Separation of Powers$
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Maxwell Cameron

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780199987443

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2013

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199987443.001.0001

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Conclusion: Writing, Power, and Democracy

Conclusion: Writing, Power, and Democracy

Chapter:
(p.198) 8 Conclusion: Writing, Power, and Democracy
Source:
Strong Constitutions
Author(s):

Maxwell A. Cameron

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199987443.003.0008

Understanding the separation of powers requires familiarity with distinct modes of argumentation, which is impossible if scholars limit themselves to a single logic of inquiry. The Machiavellian actions by the executive demand an understanding of strategic rationality. The public deliberations of legislatures and courts require an understanding of the moral theories and arguments that guide lawmakers and judges. Emphasizing the role of language and social cognition in constitutional politics helps avoid the false dichotomy between normative and instrumental approaches to politics. The separation of powers is the organization of the state according to the view that those in power must provide reasons for their actions and defend them in public against criticism. Strong constitutions do not check (that is, stop and disable) the power of the state so much as they harness (in the sense of move and enable) it by checking the arbitrary power of rulers.

Keywords:   Argument, strategic, reasons, writing, power, state, deliberation, social cognition, politics

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