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Cass R. Sunstein, Political Conflict and Legal Agreement, SSRN (Feb. 20, 2024).

Abstract: This is the original version of the Tanner Lectures on Human Values, delivered at Harvard University in 1994. The central question is this: How is law possible in a heterogeneous society, composed of people who sharply disagree about basic values? Such disagreements involve the most important issues of social life: the distribution of wealth, the role of race and gender, the nature of free speech and private property. Much of the answer to this puzzle lies in an appreciation of how people who disagree on fundamental issues can achieve incompletely theorized agreements on particular cases. Lecture I sets out the basic idea of incompletely theorized agreements and argues that such agreements have many virtues. Lecture II opposes rules to rulelessness. Its principal goal is to point the way toward a more refined understanding of the ideal of the rule of law, one that sees a degree of particularity, and a degree of lawmaking at the point of application, as an important part of that ideal. The lectures end with the suggestion that incompletely theorized agreements on particular outcomes play a large role not only in law, but also in many other sectors of social life, prominently including democratic discussion.