The irrelevance of democracy to the public justification of political authority

Res Publica 15 (2):103-120 (2009)
Democracy can be a means to independently valuable ends and/or it can be intrinsically (or non-instrumentally) valuable. One powerful non-instrumental defence of democracy is based on the idea that only it can publicly justify political authority. I contend that this is an argument about the reasonable acceptability of political authority and about the requirements of publicity and that satisfying these requirements has nothing to do with whether a society is democratic or not. Democracy, then, plays no role in publicly justifying political authority. I also show that any non-instrumental defence of democracy must make claims about what justice requires and make several further claims that require substantial justification.
Keywords Democracy  Reasonable disagreement  Justice  Reasonable acceptability  David Estlund  Publicity  Public justification
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    Thomas Christiano (2006). Debate: Democracy's Authority: Reply to Wall. Journal of Political Philosophy 14 (1):101–110.
    Thomas Christiano (2004). The Authority of Democracy. Journal of Political Philosophy 12 (3):266–290.
    Joshua Cohen (2003). 2 For a Democratic Society. In Samuel Richard Freeman (ed.), The Cambridge Companion to Rawls. Cambridge University Press. 86.

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