Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Granting Department


Major Professor

Stephen Turner, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Kwasi Wiredu, B.Phil.

Committee Member

Charles Guignon, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Martin Schoenfeld, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Willis Truitt, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Michael Gibbons, Ph.D.


Communitarianism, Multiculturalism, Interstices, Civil society, Democracy


My dissertation titled Two Models of Consensus is based on five arguments. 1. Consensus is asymmetrical. 2. Consensus is partial or limited unanimity. 3. Consensus and democracy do have a concomitant relation. 4. Consensus is not organic to political systems. 5. Consensus depends upon civil society, subsidiarity, and the dominant cultural paradigm of society.

In the first chapter titled "Historical Specificity of the Western Conception of Civil Society" I argue that concept of civil society evolved under certain conditions in a liberal democratic tradition such as shared social imaginaries. As an example of how diversity could lead to hypostatization of cultural differences, I exposit the concept of Indian caste system.

In the second chapter, "Intersubjectivity and the Problem of Cultural Identities", I compare the ideas of Hans Georg Gadamer and George Herbert Mead about self- interested action and mutual cooperative action. Gadamer and Mead emphasize intersubjective communication, I Thou relationships. I explain the importance of the I Thou relationship for a consensual activity.

The third chapter, "Consensus in the Realm of Science", discusses the impact of science as the context of justification in advanced liberal democracies and its effect on consensus. Charles Sanders Peirces attempt to apply his scientific method to arrive at a consensus in the social sphere is also discussed in this chapter.

In the fourth chapter, "Kwasi Wiredu The Akan Conception of Communitarian Consensus", I discuss Kwasi Wiredus emphasis on achieving a consensus on the basis of what is and not what ought to be, in the social realm. Wiredu differentiates between a government by consent and a government by consensus. I elaborate Wiredu's abakysis of the process of consensus that was in vogue in the Akan community of Ghana.

In the final chapter, "Political Consensus - Intra-cultural and Extra-cultural," I argue that consensus is asymmetrical. It is imperative to compromise in social, political, economic, and religious beliefs on the basis of weak deontological and weak consequential approaches. Consensus necessitates a synthesis of different kinds of social actions such as purposive-instrumental, traditional, value-laden, and communicative action into what I call the Cooperative Action. Only such an action can speak across cultures and facilitate genuine cross-cultural interaction.