Postprint version. Published in Theory in Action, Volume 4, Issue 3, July 1, 2011, pages 25-56.
The definitive version is available at https://doi.org/10.3798/tia.1937-0237.11020.
The article examines whether theories based on an immanent worldview-roughly, one that denies the existence of transcendent principle or agents relevant to human life-offer a better solution to the problems of political pluralism than do transcendent theories. After reviewing three such theories-one from Michael Hardt and Antonio Negri, one from Gilles Deleuze and Felix Guattari, and one from William Connallythe author argues that theories like Connolly's, which both make posttlve claims and explicitly acknowledge the contestability of those claims, are the most defensible. At the same time, even those theories run into the problems of transcendent theories, especially relying on assumptions they cannot prove. Thus, the author suggests that we may need to be more modest in our expectations of how persuasive any such theory can be.