David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
Learn more about PhilPapers
Theoria 53 (111):1-5 (2006)
'On the Meanings of Democracy' points to the fragility and contested meanings of 'democracy'. Once 'the assurance is given that "democracy" is the only kind of political regime that is acceptable to an adult, emancipated population which is an end in itself, the very idea of democracy fades and becomes blurred and confusing'. Such 'wide-spread lack of clarity' gave rise to Europe's 'totalitarian' regimes. It is claimed that 'it is impossible to be simply a "democrat" without questioning what this really means', and that to ignore the conceptual difficulties is as 'dangerous as rejecting democracy completely'. A 'minimal argument or blueprint for an enquiry into the possible meanings' of the term is proposed. The implications of taking 'democracy', the word, 'to describe the exercising of political power by the people' are explored. The 'people' as a social group distinct from some 'other reputedly superior part, which dominates it', is distinguished from the 'people' taken to mean 'the whole'. In the first sense, 'democracy' is not a regime but an uprising against a regime or government. In the second sense, the 'political sovereignty of the people' signifies their 'self-constitution as a people'. Accounts of democracy that focus not so much on its 'political specificity' as on 'civil society' or the 'social bond' are then explored. The author concludes with a reflection on the relationship between democracy, 'modernity' and the scope, nature and place of politics.
|Keywords||No keywords specified (fix it)|
|Categories||categorize this paper)|
Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
|Through your library|
References found in this work BETA
No references found.
Citations of this work BETA
No citations found.
Similar books and articles
Mostapha Benhenda (2011). Liberal Democracy and Political Islam: The Search for Common Ground. Politics, Philosophy and Economics 10 (1):88-115.
Keith M. Dowding, Robert E. Goodin, Carole Pateman & Brian Barry (eds.) (2004). Justice and Democracy: Essays for Brian Barry. Cambridge University Press.
Robert Keith Shaw (2009). The Phenomenology of Democracy. Policy Futures in Education 7 (3):340-348.
Brian Doherty & Marius de Geus (eds.) (1996). Democracy and Green Political Thought: Sustainability, Rights, and Citizenship. Routledge.
Edward C. Wingenbach (2011). Institutionalizing Agonistic Democracy: Post-Foundationalism and Political Liberalism. Ashgate.
Albert Camus (2001). Democracy is an Exercise in Modesty. Sartre Studies International 7 (2):12-14.
David Elstein (2010). Why Early Confucianism Cannot Generate Democracy. Dao: A Journal of Comparative Philosophy 9 (4):427-443.
Joshua Cohen (2009). Philosophy, Politics, Democracy: Selected Essays. Harvard University Press.
Nathalie Karagiannis (2010). Democracy as a Tragic Regime: Democracy and its Cancellation. Critical Horizons 11 (1):35-49.
Added to index2009-01-28
Total downloads50 ( #67,074 of 1,725,168 )
Recent downloads (6 months)1 ( #349,161 of 1,725,168 )
How can I increase my downloads?