This work provides a reflective assessment of recent developments, social relevance and future of environmental political theory, concluding that although the alleged pacification of environmentalism is more than skin deep, it is not yet quite deep enough. This book will appeal to students and researchers of social science and philosophers with an interest in environmental issues.
What is the optimal political framework for environmental reform reform on a scale commensurate with the global ecological crisis? In particular, how adequate are liberal forms of parliamentary democracy to the challenge posed by this crisis? These are the questions pondered by the contributors to this volume. Exploration of the possibilities of democracy gives rise to certain common themes. These are the relation between ecological morality and political structures or procedures and the question of the structure of decision-making (...) and distribution of information in political systems. The idea of 'democracy without traditional boundaries' is discussed as a key both to environmentalism in an age of global ecology and to the revitalisation of democracy itself in a world of increasingly protean constituencies and mutable boundaries. (shrink)
Several prominent analysts, including Heilbroner, Ophuls, and Passmore, have drawn bleak conclusions regarding the implications of contemporary environmental realities for the future of democracy. I establish, however, that the day-to-day practice of environmental politics has often had an opposite effect: democratic processes have been enhanced. I conclude that the resolution of environmental problems may weIl be more promising within a political context which is more rather than less democratic.
In The March of Unreason, Dick Taverne expresses his concern that irrationality is on the rise in Western society, and argues that public opinion is increasingly dominated by unreflecting prejudice and an unwillingness to engage with factual evidence. Discussing topics such as genetically modified crops and foods, organic farming, the MMR vaccine, environmentalism, the precautionary principle, and the new anti-capitalist and anti-globalization movements, he argues that the rejection of the evidence-based approach nurtures a culture of suspicion, distrust, and cynicism, (...) and leads to dogmatic assertion and intolerance. Science, with all the benefits it brings, is an essential part of a civilized and democratic society: it offers the most hopeful future for humankind. (shrink)
The banner of deliberative democracy is attracting increasing numbers of supporters, in both the world's older and newer democracies. This effort to renew democratic politics is widely seen as a reaction to the dominance of liberal constitutionalism. But many questions surround this new project. What does deliberative democracy stand for? What difference would deliberative practices make in the real world of political conflict and public policy design? What is the relationship between deliberative politics and liberal constitutional arrangements? The (...) 1996 publication of Amy Gutmann and Dennis F. Thompsons Democracy and Disagreement was a signal contribution to the ongoing debate over the role of moral deliberation in democratic politics. In Deliberative Politics an all-star cast of political, legal, and moral commentators seek to criticize, extend, or provide alternatives to Gutmann and Thompson's hopeful model of democratic deliberation. The essays discuss the value and limits of moral deliberation in politics, and take up practical policy issues such as abortion, affirmative action, and health care reform. Among the impressive roster of contributors are Norman Daniels, Stanley Fish, William A. Galston, Jane Mansbridge, Cass R. Sunstein, Michael Walzer, and Iris Marion Young, and the editor of the volume, Stephen Macedo. The book concludes with a thoughtful response from Gutmann and Thompson to their esteemed critics. This fine collection is essential reading for anyone who takes seriously the call for a more deliberative politics. (shrink)
One of the key questions to have exercised green political theorists in recent years concerns the relationship of the environment 'agenda' and democracy. Both environmentalists and democrats have a tendency to think of each other as natural bedfellows but in fact there is little theoretical or practical reason why they should be. Indeed some theorists have argued that the environmental movement has grown from fundamentally authoritarian roots and it is arguable that the only really effective way of implementing environmental (...) politics is by imposing them in an authoritarian manner. This book deals with the tensions between democracy and environmentalism from a variety of theoretical and empirical perspectives. (shrink)
The political institutions under which we live today evolved from a revolutionary idea that shook the world in the second part of the eighteenth century: that a people should govern itself. Yet if we judge contemporary democracies by the ideals of self-government, equality, and liberty, we find that democracy is not what it was dreamt to be. This book addresses central issues in democratic theory by analyzing the sources of widespread dissatisfaction with democracies around the world. With attention throughout (...) to historical and cross-national variations, the focus is on the generic limits of democracy in promoting equality, effective participation, control of governments by citizens, and liberty. The conclusion is that although some of this dissatisfaction has good reasons, some is based on an erroneous understanding of how democracy functions. Hence, although the analysis identifies the limits of democracy, it also points to directions for feasible reforms. (shrink)
Taking insights from the philosophy of science and technology, theories of participatory democracy and Critical Theory, the author tackles and explores how democratic participation in scientific research and technological innovation could be possible, as a deliberative means of improving the rational basis for the development of modern society.
Listening closely to the religious pitch in Rousseau's voice, Cladis convincingly shows that Rousseau, when attempting to portray the most characteristic aspects of the public and private, reached for a religious vocabulary. Honoring both love of self and love of that which is larger than the self--these twin poles, with all the tension between them--mark Rousseau's work, vision and challenge--the challenge of 21st-century democracy.
What kind of challenge does sexual and racial difference pose for postmodern ethics? What is the relation between ethical obligation and feminist interpretations of embodiment, passion, and eros? How can we negotiate between ethical responsibility for the Other and democratic struggles against domination, injustice, and equality, on the one hand, and internal conflicts within the subject, on the other? We cannot address such questions, Ziarek argues, without putting into dialogue discourses that have hitherto been segregated: postmodern ethics, feminism, race theory, (...) and the idea of radical democracy. Addressing a constellation of diverse thinkers - including Emmanuel Levinas, Patricia Williams, Jean-François Lyotard, Michel Foucault, Frantz Fanon, Julia Kristeva, and Luce Irigaray - the author proposes a new conception of ethics, an ethics of dissensus that rethinks the relation between freedom and obligation in a double context of embodiment and antagonism. (shrink)
This essay reflects on three strategic visions of how society might develop in the direction of a more environmentally responsible culture. These strategies - green technology, ecocentrism, and civic environmentalism - offer promising elements of what we need. However, each fails in different ways to successfully explain how citizens, caught up in consumerist practices and their supporting belief systems, can be led to take the transformative steps needed to build a culture that engages responsibly and respectfully with the natural (...) environment. This essay aims to acknowledge the contributions of these three approaches, while also critically reflecting on their limitations. The core limitation is the unresolved clash between ecocentrism's focus on the vulnerability of nature's intrinsic value to any anthropogenic intervention and civic environmentalism's focus on the revival of strong civic democracy as a gateway to environmental health. (shrink)
Increased attention to the relationship between democracy and education in the UK has been accompanied over the past thirteen years by an interest in how art can be used to promote democratic citizenship. While this approach has led to increased funding for the arts, it is not without its problems, and has often entailed an apolitical and instrumentalist view of both art and education. This paper turns to the political philosophy of Mouffe and Rancière, the work of Rancière in (...) aesthetics, and Biesta's educational philosophy to develop an alternative way of understanding the significance of art for democracy and education. Building on their work, I take a performative and collective view of democratic subjectivity as the basis on which to construct this alternative understanding. I further argue that this conceptualisation can aid our understanding of democratic learning and our ability to provide opportunities for it through art and educational practice. (shrink)
Dewey's book on Democracy and Education established his credentials in the field of education and once counted as his most important book. It has been re-published in many editions and continuously in print ever since the original publication in 1916.
There has been much interest in cosmopolitan models of democracy in recent times. Arguably, the most developed of these is the model articulated by David Held, so it is not surprising that it has received the most attention and criticism. In this paper, I outline Held's model of cosmopolitan democracy and consider the objections Will Kymlicka raises to this account. I argue that Kymlicka's objections do not undermine Held's central claims and that Held's cosmopolitanism remains a very promising (...) model that deserves further attention. (shrink)
The green movement has posed some tough questions for traditional justifications of democracy. Should the natural world have rights? Can we take account of the interests of future generation? Do we need to replace existing institutions to deal with the ecological crisis? But questions have also been asked of the greens. Could their idealism undermine democracy? Can greens be effective democrats? Democracy and Green Political Thought, leading writers on green political thought analyze these and other important questions, (...) examine the discourse of green movements concerning democracy, the status of democracy within green political thought, and the political institutions which might be necessary to ensure democracy in a sustainable society. The debates are not simply about the compatibility of democracy with green ideas but also how best to define democracy itself. (shrink)
The main thesis of this paper is that the most cogent demands of subjectivity, at least with respect to questions concerning the contents of our thoughts, can be accommodated within an objectivist framework. I begin with two theses: (1) Subjectivity: I can know (the contents of) my own thoughts without appeal to any knowledge of features external to my mind; (2) Environmentalism: (The contents of) my thoughts are determined by features external to my mind, at least in this sense: (...) without causal and/or social interaction between my internal states and various external features, these internal states would not have the particular contents they have and therefore would not be the mental states they are. Section I proceeds by elucidating various lines of environmentalism, an overtly objectivist thesis. Section II considers and refutes one purported environmentalist challenge to subjectivity, namely, that, according to it, thoughts are not in the head. Section III discusses a central subjectivist thesis, namely, thoughts do not admit of an appearance/reality distinction. Tyler Burge and Hilary Putnam, two environmentalists, seem to endorse such a distinction. It is argued that the two most reasonable routes of escape open to them require a retreat from environmentalism. This leaves us with an apparent dilemma: reject either subjectivity or environmentalism Section IV defends environmentalism. Section V considers and criticizes a maneuver Donald Davidson makes to preserve first?person authority over thought?contents. Section VI concludes with a brief defense of environmentalism which rests largely on rejecting a deeply entrenched epistemic model about how we access our own thoughts. It is argued that it is this bad epistemic model and not subjectivity per se, which has created whatever tension there appears to be between subjectivity and environmentalism. (shrink)
What do we talk about when we talk about ethical diversity as a challenge to the normative justifiability of liberal democracy? Many theorists claim that liberal democracy ought to be reformed or rejected for not being sufficiently ‘inclusive’ towards diversity; others argue that, on the contrary, liberalism is desirable because it accommodates (some level of) diversity. Moreover, it has been argued that concern for diversity should lead us to favour (say) neutralistic over perfectionist, universalistic over particularistic, participative over (...) representative versions of liberal democracy. This paper provides a conceptual framework to situate those debates, and argues that there are two fundamental ways in which diversity constitutes a challenge to the justificatory status of liberal democracy: consistency (whereby diversity causes clashes between the prescriptions generated by normative political theories), and adequacy (whereby diversity generates a rift between our experience of what is considered valuable and what the theory treats as such). (shrink)
The political unconscious -- Modernity's traumas -- Targeting the public sphere -- The repetition compulsion or the endless war on terror -- Recovering community -- Deliberative democracy -- Feminist theory, politics, and freedom -- Public knowledge -- Three models of democratic deliberation -- The limits of deliberation, democratic myths, new frontiers -- Media and the public sphere -- Epilogue.
Although the modern age is often described as the age of democratic revolutions, the subject of popular foundings has not captured the imagination of contemporary political thought. Most of the time, democratic theory and political science treat as the object of their inquiry normal politics, institutionalized power, and consolidated democracies. The aim of Andreas Kalyvas' study is to show why it is important for democratic theory to rethink the question of its beginnings. Is there a founding unique to democracies? Can (...) a democracy be democratically established? What are the implications of expanding democratic politics in light of the question of whether and how to address democracy's beginnings? Kalyvas addresses these questions and scrutinizes the possibility of democratic beginnings in terms of the category of the extraordinary, as he reconstructs it from the writings of Max Weber, Carl Schmitt, and Hannah Arendt and their views on the creation of new political, symbolic, and constitutional orders. (shrink)
It is one of the paradoxes of our age that the 'success' of democracy in Eastern Europe and South Africa is coupled with grave disappointment in the 'birth places' of modern democracy. This dis appointment is partly due to the irreducible ambiguity entailed in democratic institutional arrangements. Democracy, in fact, is founded on this ambiguity. It attempts to construct social unity on the basis of recognizing the lack around which the social field is always structured. In that (...) sense the source of the disappointment caused by democracy is of an ethical status. It is the antithesis between the ambiguity of democracy and a still hegemonic ethics of harmony. Any aspiration, however, to eliminate the ambiguity of democracy ignores the innovative logic of democratic politics. If the ethics of harmony lead to a de-democratization of democracy, what a radical democratic project needs today is an ethical basis of a totally different nature. Here, the ethics of psychoanalysis, as formulated in the Lacanian tradition, can be of great help. Key Words: democracy ethics harmony Lacan psychoanalysis. (shrink)
While theorizing in distinctly different times, distinctly different cultures, and under distinctly different circumstances, notable philosophical similarities can be drawn between John Dewey and Paulo Freire. This article focuses on two major themes evident in a sample of each philosopher's major works, democracy and experience, and draws theoretical comparisons between the way each philosopher approaches these concepts in terms of definition and application to educational and social practice. The author suggests that, despite some paradigmatic differences, the fundamental definitions and (...) uses of these concepts expressed by both philosophers are largely comparable and complementary. (shrink)
The article presents an introduction to the Special Issue on the French philosopher Jacques Rancière who raises a provocative voice in the current public debate on democracy, equality and education. Instead of merely criticizing current practices and discourses, the attractiveness of Rancière's work is that he does try to formulate in a positive way what democracy is about, how equality can be a pedagogic or educational (instead of policy) concern, and what the public and democratic role of education (...) is. His work opens up a space to rethink and to study, as well as to 're-practice', what democracy and equality in education are about. He questions the current neutralisation of politics that is motivated by a hatred of democracy. This questioning is for Rancière also a struggle over words. Against the old philosophical dream of defining the meaning of words, Rancière underlines the need for the struggle over their meaning. The aim of the article is to clarify how and why education, equality, and democracy are a major concern throughout his work and to offer an introduction to the articles collected in the Special Issue. (shrink)
In 20th century's European theory of education there was little interest in philosophy of democracy. John Dewey's Democracy and Education was translated in nearly everyEuropean language but did not become the center of discussion.Even ``radical education'' was much more child-centered thanopen to radical questions of political democracy. This articlediscusses the problem in two respects, first the tension betweenneo-liberalism's concept of individuality and public education,and second the future problems of a theory of ``democraticeducation'' after Dewey. The aim is (...) to overcome traditionalEuropean dualisms like that of ``citizen'' or ``man''i.e. to pave the way for a post-Rousseauian theory of education. (shrink)
In this article we contend that attempts to foster democratic education in the United States' public schools rarely include mathematics class in meaningful ways. We begin with Dewey's conception of democracy and then argue that current ways of thinking about mathematics do not provide adequate foundations for democratic mathematics education. Our reconceptualization of mathematics draws on Dewey's uniquely humanistic philosophy of mathematics. We conclude with some implications of democratic mathematics education for school and society. Thus, this project seeks (...) to blur the theory-practice dualism, developing a theoretical argument which draws sustenance from and seeks to contribute back to educational practice. (shrink)
Allen Carlson and Sheila Lintott (eds): Nature, Aesthetics, and Environmentalism: From Beauty to Duty Content Type Journal Article DOI 10.1007/s10806-010-9258-2 Authors Nathaniel Barrett, Institute for the Biocultural Study of Religion 1711 Massachusetts Ave NW #308 Washington DC 20036 USA Journal Journal of Agricultural and Environmental Ethics Online ISSN 1573-322X Print ISSN 1187-7863.
From a historical point of view, theuniversity as an institution has had the roleof educating an elite, rather than any obvioustask of enforcing democracy. But what kind ofexpectations regarding citizenship anddemocracy can we justifiably have when it comesto the role of higher education and ouruniversities today when higher education isundergoing a process of massification. Couldthe university eventually become a place fordeliberative communication, developingdeliberative qualities among its many students?According to the contributions presented here âstemming from a conference on the theme``Higher (...) education, democracy and citizenship'',held at Ãrebro university, Sweden 2000 âthe answer is yes, to some extent, if there isroom for pluralism in different dimensions,opportunities to challenge one's own tradition,and tolerance and respect for the concreteother. (shrink)
The article presents an introduction to the Special Issue on the French philosopher Jacques Rancière who raises a provocative voice in the current public debate on democracy, equality and education. Instead of merely criticizing current practices and discourses, the attractiveness of Rancière's work is that he does try to formulate in a positive way what democracy is about, how equality can be a pedagogic or educational (instead of policy) concern, and what the public and democratic role of education (...) is. His work opens up a space to rethink and to study, as well as to ‘re-practice’, what democracy and equality in education are about. He questions the current neutralisation of politics that is motivated by a hatred of democracy. This questioning is for Rancière also a struggle over words. Against the old philosophical dream of defining the meaning of words, Rancière underlines the need for the struggle over their meaning. The aim of the article is to clarify how and why education, equality, and democracy are a major concern throughout his work and to offer an introduction to the articles collected in the Special Issue. (shrink)
In Democracy and the Political Unconscious, Noëlle McAfee analyzes social pathologies that have arisen in the United States since September 11, 2001. In particular, she argues that we have been suffering society-wide repetition compulsions and time collapses, compelling us to experience the trauma repeatedly, and we have been acting out in ways that continue the cycle of suffering. She also presents a prescription for how we might work through these issues more democratically and fruitfully using deliberative talking cures. McAfee's (...) application of the psychoanalytic model to society is fascinating, and she offers concrete and practical suggestions for how to better resolve social trauma.In the first four chapters .. (shrink)
This article discusses the suggestion, expressed in the three preceding articles in this issue of Ethics & Behavior, that ethics as practiced in the helping professions requires greater organizational democratization. The relevance to this proposal of both a cognitive conception of democracy and an account of the nature of values that establishes their objectivity is also discussed.
In recent years, a number of prominent thinkers have argued that democratic arrangements tend to favour the flourishing of toleration among groups with radically different comprehensive worldviews. This article examines one of the most insightful arguments, advanced by Sheldon Leader, for grounding the practice of toleration on the value of democracy. It shows that Leader's attempt to ground the practice of toleration on a common understanding of democracy faces a number of fundamental obstacles. Such obstacles could only be (...) overcome if both liberals and their opponents were to reach an agreement on the value of democracy and thereby converge in their support for toleration. It argues that, far from providing a common ground that liberals and their opponents can share, the so?called ?shareable understanding? of democracy appeals primarily to liberals. (shrink)
This paper examines the distinction drawn by Rawls between the ideas of property-owning democracy and welfare state capitalism, and assesses the strength of the support provided by justice as fairness for the implementation of the kinds of policies that distinguish property-owning democracy most sharply from welfare state capitalism. It is argued first that justice as fairness does not provide strong grounds for the implementation of policies designed to improve access to and broaden the distribution of nonhuman capital, arguably (...) the most important institutional feature of property-owning democracy. It is then argued that the idea of “highest-order interests” provides the basis upon which a powerful case for the implementation of this key policy type may be constructed. (shrink)
It has long been argued that the institution of judicial review is incompatible with democratic institutions. This criticism usually relies on a procedural conception of democracy, according to which democracy is essentially a form of government defined by equal political rights and majority rule. I argue that if we see democracy not just as a form of government, but more basically as a form of sovereignty, then there is a way to conceive of judicial review as a (...) legitimate democratic institution. The conception of democracy that stems from the social contract tradition of Locke, Rousseau, Kant and Rawls, is based in an ideal of the equality, independence, and original political jurisdiction of all citizens. Certain equal basic rights, in addition to equal political rights, are a part of democratic sovereignty. In exercising their constituent power at the level of constitutional choice, free and equal persons could choose judicial review as one of the constitutional mechanisms for protecting their equal basic rights. As such, judicial review can be seen as a kind of shared precommitment by sovereign citizens to maintaining their equal status in the exercise of their political rights in ordinary legislative procedures. I discuss the conditions under which judicial review is appropriate in a constitutional democracy. This argument is contrasted with Hamilton's traditional argument for judicial review, based in separation of powers and the nature of judicial authority. I conclude with some remarks on the consequences for constitutional interpretation. (shrink)
This essay offers only a broad description of a possible comparison between 'savage democracy' in the terms of Claude Lefort and the 'principle of anarchy' according to Reiner Schurmann. First, I shall try to define savage democracy. Then, in a second move, after having clarified Schurmann's principle of anarchy, I shall outline the terms for a possible confrontation of their respective views. The point here is to show the extent to which the contextualization of democracy with anarchy, (...) considered as principle, is of a nature to bring out democracy's most 'savage' characteristics - but without for all that concealing the difficulties that this perspective provokes or reveals. Indeed, it is precisely by returning to and excavating the gap between anarchy and principle that one most closely approaches the 'savage essence' of democracy. Key Words: anarchy democracy domination Heidegger Lefort Machiavelli politics savage democracy Schurmann totalitarianism. (shrink)
Deliberative democracy defends an ideal of equality as political efficacy. Jorge Valadez offers a defense of such an ideal given cultural pluralism of ethnopolitical groups. He develops an epistemological account of the fact of pluralism as entailing incommensurable conceptual frameworks. While his account goes a long way towards identifying the problems with neutrality and many other liberal solutions to the problem of pluralism, it is still too liberal in certain ways. First, he draws the limits of deliberation and political (...) inclusion too narrowly, giving little role for the toleration of non-liberal groups and too great a role to autonomy in deliberation. Second, incommensurability overemphasizes the theoretical nature of cultural conflicts and the need for background agreements on certain political values and thus also underappreciates practical solutions that leave disagreements intact. Finally, the contemporary fact of pluralism is not limited to relations among distinct cultures in this way, but is far more multidimensional, given multiple political memberships and the mutual interdependence and intense interaction among widely dispersed groups. Key Words: cosmopolitanism deliberation democracy pluralism toleration. (shrink)
Debates over the politicization of science have led some to claim that scientists have or should have a “right to research.” This article examines the political meaning and implications of the right to research with respect to different historical conceptions of rights. The more common “liberal” view sees rights as protections against social and political interference. The “republican” view, in contrast, conceives rights as claims to civic membership. Building on the republican view of rights, this article conceives the right to (...) research as embedding science more firmly and explicitly within society, rather than sheltering science from society. From this perspective, all citizens should enjoy a general right to free inquiry, but this right to inquiry does not necessarily encompass all scientific research. Because rights are most reliably protected when embedded within democratic culture and institutions, claims for a right to research should be considered in light of how the research in question contributes to democracy. By putting both research and rights in a social context, this article shows that the claim for a right to research is best understood, not as a guarantee for public support of science, but as a way to initiate public deliberation and debate about which sorts of inquiry deserve public support. (shrink)
This essay considers a number of proposals for liberal political democracy in East Asian societies, and some of the critical responses such proposals have attracted from political philosophers and from East Asian intellectuals and leaders. These proposals may well be ill-suited to the distinctive traditional values of societies claiming a Confucian inheritance. Offered here instead is a pragmatist- and Confucian-inspired vision of participatory democracy in civic life that is possibly better able to address the problem of conserving and (...) continuing these traditional values through times of economic and social change. (shrink)
We seek to establish a dialogue between democratic and Islamic normative political theories. To that aim, we show that the conception of democracy underlying a prominent Islamic political model is procedural. We distinguish proceduralism from a liberal conception of democracy. Then, we explain how bringing together Islamic political theory and democracy alters the meaning of the latter. In other words, we show that democracy within Islam often means democracy within Islamic limits.
The aim of this paper is to consider whether some seats in a democratically elected legislative assembly ought to be reserved for representatives of future generations. In order to examine this question, I will propose a new democratic model for representing posterity. It is argued that this model has several advantages compared with a model for the democratic representation of future people previously suggested by Andrew Dobson. Nevertheless, the democratic model that I propose confronts at least two difficult problems. First, (...) it faces insoluble problems of representative legitimacy. Second, one might question whether this model provides a reasonably effective way to represent future interests compared with existing representative democratic institutions. Despite such problems, it is argued that political representation of posterity can be defended on the basis of fundamental ideas and ideals in recent theory of deliberative democracy. The first reason for this is that in a number of cases democratic decisions cannot be regarded as normatively legitimate from the point of view of deliberative democracy, unless posterity is given a voice. The second reason is that representation of posterity can contribute to more rational and impartial deliberations and decisions in legislative assemblies. (shrink)
In recent years the concept of eros has found its way back into educational literature with the aim of integrating human desires into educational theories and counteracting a devaluation of emotional life. This paper holds the view that this integration is important because desire expresses a fundamental way of relating to the world. However, part of the literature on eros and education also rethematizes the concept of eros as an educational value in support of democracy. The paper argues that (...) the binding together of eros and democracy is based on a one-sided description of eros, which is too hasty when we look at the plurality of lived desires. (shrink)
Deliberative democracy, it is claimed, is essential for the legitimisation of public policy and law. It is built upon an assumption that citizens will be capable of constructing and defending reasons for their moral and political beliefs. However, critics of deliberative democracy suggest that citizens’ emotions are not properly considered in this process and, if left unconsidered, present a serious problem for this political framework. In response to this, deliberative theorists have increasingly begun to incorporate the emotions into (...) their accounts. However, these accounts have tended to focus only upon the inclusion of emotions in the external-collective exchange of reason between citizens. Little work has been done on how the individual will actually cope with emotions internally within their own minds. There has been no consideration of the capacities that citizens will need to perceive, understand and regulate emotions as they formulate reasons both by themselves and with others. Moreover, there has been little consideration of how these capacities might be educated in children so that emotionally competent deliberative citizens can be created. In this paper, emotional intelligence is presented as an essential capacity that can fulfil this role for the deliberative citizen and deliberative democracy more generally. The ‘deliberative school’ is suggested as a potential site for this transformation that can progress from generation to generation, cultivating citizens that are increasingly better equipped to handle emotionally-laden deliberative engagement. (shrink)
The dominant debate on Islam and democracy continues to operate in the realm of normativity. This article engages with key literature showing limits of such a line of inquiry. Through the case study of India’s Islamist organization, Jamaat-e-Islami, I aim at shifting the debate from textual normativity to demotic praxis. I demonstrate how Islam and democracy work in practice, and in so doing offer a fresh perspective to enhance our understandings of both Islam and democracy. A key (...) proposition of this article is that rather than discussing the cliché if Islam is compatible with democracy, or Islam should be democratized, we study the ‘hows’ of de-democratization in Muslim societies. (shrink)
I evaluate the claim that modern urban regions are desirable sites for inclusive forms of democratic governance. Although certain features of city life do hold such promise, I argue that these same features coincide with exclusionary attitudes and activities that undermine democratic hopes. I then clarify the necessary conditions for more inclusive urban democracy, distinguishing my account from prominent criticisms of suburban culture and urban sprawl advanced by, among others, advocates of the new urbanism. I conclude with proposals for (...) reform that emphasize creative uses of existing and emerging technologies and institutions, and a more democratic conception of eminent domain authority. Key Words: democracy difference cities citizenship eminent domain new urbanism. (shrink)
Liberal political thought has traditionally been hostile to the arbitrary power of rulers. It has, however, qualified this hostility through its promotion of what Locke calls ?prerogative?, the need for rulers to act in defence of the public good ? but on occasion outside the constraints of law. Liberal thought has tended to overlook the arbitrary powers of citizens and private organisations. This is due, first, to its commitment to individual liberty. But it is also due ?more substantially ? to (...) the belief that private agents and corporations, even when not constrained by law, are none the less subject to the non?legal sanctions and rewards imposed by the market and other aspects of civil society. Neo?liberalism is not rendered distinctive by its promotion of arbitrary power, since this has always featured in liberal government. Neo?liberalism is distinguished rather by its promotion of arbitrary powers across the full range of organs of governance ? from departments of government, through publicly and privately owned corporations, to ostensibly non?governmental bodies like charities, churches and so on. This advance in liberal promotion of arbitrary power has significant implications for the evolution of contemporary democracy. (shrink)
The main question informing this paper is whether it is possible to extend democracy beyond its liberal forms. The paper reflects upon this question with regard to its implications for the individual. For the radicalization of democracy implies a need for self-transformation, if the everyday egoism of contemporary citizens is not to thwart reasonable discussion and participation. Theorists such as Richard Rorty argue that the philosophical resources required to guide such self-transformation can be made available only by sacrificing (...) the political freedom and cultural diversity liberalism has been able to precariously establish. Other theorists insist that the thresholds of pluralism and tolerance that existing liberal democracies are struggling to maintain actually require an extension of democracy. The paper evaluates two different theoretical strategies that aim to identify potentials for democratization without falling prey to the dilemma identified by Rorty: a deliberative strategy explicated with reference to Jürgen Habermas and an existential approach represented here by William Connolly. Key Words: Connolly democracy existential Habermas individual proceduralism Rorty. (shrink)
Beginning with a reconsideration of what the school is and has been, this paper explores the idea of the school to come. Emphasizing the governmental role of education in modernity, I offer a line of thinking that calls into question the assumption of both the school and education as possible conduits for either democracy or social justice. Drawing on Derrida’s spectral ontology I argue that any automatic correlation of education with democracy is misguided: especially within redemptive discourses that (...) seek to liberate education from its present enclosure. This rereading of the field of education in the light of an account of the fundamental ontology of its key institution problematizes all rhetorics of education as social salvation. Education, it proposes, cannot be conceived as the ideal soul of a corrupted or as yet defective body, the school. Education—having taken on the character of an ontotheological principle—has become a governmental instrument as much as its specific institutions. This ontological condition can be understood within various accounts of the nature of contemporaneity. This paper considers the monstrous proposal that education be abandoned as the grounds for social, ethical and cultural redemption. The good news is that this abandonment opens the possibility for thinking beyond education, a beyond that is also beyond the strictures of instrumental rationality. (shrink)
There are good historical reasons for emphasis on separation of church and state in a democracy, but the separation can be carried too far. Concerning the relationship of church and state, various Chrístian denominations divide up into separatists and unificationists, and each tendency can lead into extremes which could under certain conditions be inimical to democracy. Going beyond questions of constitutional separation, one may argue for a mutual utility and complementarity of church and democratic polity. Whether a strictly (...) necessary relationship is entailed is a more complex problem. (shrink)
In 1971, Chicano activist Armando Réndon began to chart new directions for Chicana/o politics that move away from a narrow emphasis on cultural and ethnic nationalism. He argues that urban Chicana/o neighborhoods ought develop community-based organizations to provide support services for residents and to advocate local concerns to elected officials. In the first part of this essay, I reconstruct Réndon's concept of a 'barrio union' as an example of participatory democracy. I situate his concept of neighborhood democracy within (...) Mexican American and Progressive movement history, and then highlight contemporary experiments with this model that are particularly successful in transforming traditionally marginalized individuals into active democratic participants. I then suggest that the barrio union is a repository of cultural, ethical, and political ideals that might be used by progressive Chicana/o activists to challenge the meaning of dominant institutions and political traditions within the United States, particularly the ways in which we conceive of race and American citizenship. (shrink)
Power consists in the capacity of A to command B, even against B's wishes, whether directly or indirectly. Questions to do with who possesses it and in what degree are obscured by inflationary shifts of definition (as where power encompasses action as such, or right action, or co?operation). These misjudged moves are generally marked by the assumption that democracy displaces power. But if democracy ultimately persists as a voting procedure, its object is to create power?holders. Democracy may (...) endorse three electoral principles: (a) majority rule, or (b) enhanced majority rule, or (c) unanimity. Its commonest electoral device is (a), but its strongest moral defence for (a) implicitly is (c), which legitimates forms of (d) veto and forms of minority rule. If (d) is fair, this need not follow from (a). Nor is (a) right in virtue of superior power. Democracy is commonly a combination of (a) plus (e) defence of individual and corporate rights. But this combination, while apt and convenient, is not incontestably coherent. Despite growing support for deliberation over election, if democracy must be impelled by (a), thus far does it sustain, not topple, power. If power persists more stably under democracies than elsewhere, sustained caution in regard to its supposed ?circularization? is fully warranted. (shrink)
It is argued that only the embedding of Rawlsian political liberalism within a republican framework secures the content of his view against Cohen's critique of Rawlsian special incentives. That content is fully specified in the form of a property-owning democracy; only this background set of institutions (or one functionally equivalent to it) will secure the stability of Rawls's egalitarian principles. A liberal-republicanism, rather than political liberalism alone, offers deeper grounding for our commitment to a property-owning democracy as a (...) privileged political economy for the expression of our egalitarian ideals. (shrink)
The distinguished author of books on psychology, ethics, and politics, John Dewey specialized in the philosophy of education. In this landmark work on public education, Dewey discusses methods of providing quality public education in a democratic society. First published close to 90 years ago, Democracy and Education sounded the call for a revolution in education, stressing growth, experience, and activity as factors that promote a democratic character in students and lead to the advancement of self and society. Unabridged reproduction (...) of the classic 1916 edition. (shrink)
Nearly every major philosophy, from Plato to Hegel and beyond, has argued that democracy is an inferior form of government, at best. Yet, virtually every contemporary political philosophy working today - whether in an analytic or postmodern tradition - endorses democracy in one variety or another. Should we conclude then that the traditional canon is meaningless for helping us theorize about a just state? In this paper, I will take up the criticisms and positive proposals of two such (...) canonical figures in political philosophy: Plato and Hegel. At first glance, each is rather disdainful, if not outright hostile, to democracy. This is also how both have been represented traditionally. However, if we look behind the reasons for their rejection of (Athenian) democracy and the reasons behind their alternatives to democracy, I believe we can uncover a new theory of government that does two things. First, it maps onto the so-called Schumpeterian tradition of elite theories of democracy quite well. Second, perhaps surprisingly, it actually provides an improved justification for democratic government as we practice it today than rival theories of democracy. Thus, not only are Plato and Hegel not enemies of modern democratic thought after all, but each is actually quite useful for helping us develop democratic theory in a positive, not negative, manner. (shrink)
In this paper I argue that John Dewey developed a philosophy of law that follows directly from his conception of democracy. Indeed, under Dewey’s theory an understanding of law can only follow from an accurate understanding of the social and political context within which it functions. This has important implications for the form law takes within democ- ratic society. The paper will explore these implications through a comparison of Dewey’s claims with those of Richard Posner and Ronald Dworkin; two (...) other theorists that inti- mately link law and democracy. After outlining their theories I will use the recent United States Supreme Court case, Citizens United, to discuss how practitioners of the three theo- ries would decide a case that implicates both the rule of law and democratic procedures. In order to do this judges following each theory, “Dews, Dworks and Poses,” are imagined. Ul- timately this paper will show that drastically different results to Citizens United would fol- low. The (tentative) conclusion of the paper is that Dewey’s conception of the relationship between democracy and law is a superior option to either that of Dworkin or Posner. (shrink)
The review argues that Talisse's epistemic defense of democracy in his "Democracy and Moral Conflict," albeit novel and interesting, falls prey to an epistemic analogue of the problem of reasonable moral pluralism that Rawls famously posed for moral justifications of democracy.
Nancy Levene reinterprets a major early-modern philosopher, Benedict de Spinoza - a Jew who was rejected by the Jewish community of his day but whose thought contains, and critiques, both Jewish and Christian ideas. It foregrounds the connection of religion, democracy, and reason, showing that Spinoza's theories of the Bible, the theologico-political, and the philosophical all involve the concepts of equality and sovereignty. Professor Levene argues that Spinoza's concept of revelation is the key to this connection, and above all (...) to Spinoza's view of human power. This is to shift the emphasis in Spinoza's thought from the language of amor Dei (love of God) to the language of libertas humana (human freedom) without losing either the dialectic of his most striking claim - that man is God to man - or the Jewish and Christian elements in his thought. Original and thoughtfully argued, this book offers new insights into Spinoza's thought. (shrink)
This paper aims to evaluate thechallenges posed to traditional ethical theoryby the ethics of feminism, multiculturalism,and environmentalism. I argue that JamesSterba, in his Three Challenges to Ethics,provides a distorted assessment by trying toassimilate feminism, multiculturalism, andenvironmentalism into traditional utilitarian,virtue, and Kantian/Rawlsian ethics – which hethus seeks to rescue from their alleged``biases.'''' In the cases of feminism andmulticulturalism, I provide an alternativeaccount on which these new critical discourseschallenge the whole paradigm or conception ofethical inquiry embodied in the tradition.They embrace different (...) questions, goals, toolsof analysis, and wider audiences, typicallyignored or marginalized by traditionalethicists.I illustrate my argument through briefinterpretations of writers such as Susan Okin,Catharine Mackinnon, Sandra Bartky, JohnStoltenberg, Richard Wasserstrom, AnthonyAppiah, Charles Mills, Will Kymlicka, CharlesTaylor, and Martha Nussbaum. In many of thesecases, I suggest that they provide us with newways of being ethicists.In the case of environmentalism, I defend amore conservative and negative assessment.Sterba embraces authors such as Peter Singer,Tom Regan, and Paul Taylor in order to advancean environmentalist ethic of ``speciesequality/impartiality'''' and ``biocentricpluralism.'''' Here I argue that the traditionalKantian/Rawlsian ethics – which Sterba hopesto accommodate – actually provides compellingmoral reasons for rejecting his principles of``species impartiality'''' and biocentricpluralism. Moreover, Rawlsian ethics canprovide a more coherent, consistent, andplausible account of environmental issues thanSterba''s brand of environmental ethics. Iargue that in practice, his ethics concedeswhat it denies in theory – namely, the specialvalue which inheres in human beings.As such, environmental ethics, unlike feminismand multiculturalism, poses very little in theway of a credible challenge or alternative totraditional ethics. (shrink)
This article examines the concept of violence in contemporary political theory focusing in particular on the possibility of rethinking the relationship between violence and democracy. Rather than seeing democracy and violence as contrasting concepts, it argues that democratic societies have always been founded on the basis of violent engagement at some level. And, of course, the modern state has always claimed the legitimate use of force as a key ingredient in its authority. The article contends that many contemporary (...) democratic discourses have lost sight of the integral relationship between democracy and violence. Indeed it is frequently the case that discourses of democracy are couched in ethical terms as the obverse of violence. Ironically, this trend is often most apparent where societies are either making a transition to democracy or where a process of conflict transformation is taking place. The limitations of these approaches for our understanding of violence and democracy will be outlined in this article through an examination of contemporary political developments in Northern Ireland. (shrink)
In this paper, I argue that we need to re-address the issue of freedom as it relates to democracy and critical practice. My argument is drawn out of Derrida's deconstructive reading of Jean-Luc Nancy's The Experience of Freedom which proposes freedom in ontological terms as an experience of indeterminate openness that must be thought prior to any freedom of the self. I show how Derrida's reading of Nancy's text is itself a re-enactment of the freedom that Derrida finds wanting (...) in Nancy's text, but which, by that very fact, affirms the power of critique in its capacity to think freely. The urgency of the thought of freedom is not something that can be avoided, but is itself the fact of critique in its thinking of democracy as a possibility, as something that might come about, as distinct from an already accomplished idea. To think in this way is, I argue, a matter of virtue, that is, of being free, as the virtue of critique and its capacity to act decisively, thereby bringing something forth by risking what it already is, in the absolute possibility of it not being. (shrink)
In his excellent book Democracy and Knowledge: Innovation and Learning in Classical Athens Josiah Ober argues that ancient Athenian democracy surmounted the dangers of political ignorance and made effective use of dispersed citizen knowledge to forge good public policy. He effectively demonstrates that Athenian democracy was more successful than the oligarchic and tyrannical governments of rival Greek city-states. He also shows how Athenian institutions worked to reduce the dangers of political ignorance. On the other hand, Ober is (...) less successful in showing that the relatively impressive performance of Athenian democracy should lead us to be optimistic about today’s democratic states. Indeed, his account suggests that Athens’ success in overcoming political ignorance was in large part the result of two important ways in which it differed from modern democracies: the small size of its electorate and the very narrow range of functions performed by its government. (shrink)
Post-foundational politics and democracy -- Agonism and democracy -- A typology of agonistic democracy -- Agonistic democracy and the question of institutions -- Agonistic democracy and the limits of popular participation -- Populism, representation, and the popular will -- Political liberalism, contingency and agonistic pluralism -- Liberalism, agonism, and democracy.
Development cannot be left to the "magic wand" of market forces alone. This observation has been vindicated by the dismal failure of the IMF/World Bank policies in Africa since the 1970s/80s. That development needs an active state participation and some deliberately dirigiste policies brooks no controversy. Interestingly, even the World Bank has begrudgingly come to accept the centrality of the state in development after peddling policies premised on market fundamentalism for decades. Consensus is now emerging in development discourses in Africa (...) that both states and markets do play an important complimentary role in the development process. The idea that this article canvasses is that both democracy and development need a robust, capable, democratic developmental state. A democratic developmental state operates in such a way that it leaves ample room for other key non-state actors to make their critical input in the development agenda and the democratization process. The article revisits the debate on the post-colonial state; interrogates challenges for democratic governance and sustainable human development; revisits the nexus between democracy and development in the context of Southern Africa. It further investigates the impact of the current process of accelerated globalization on the state, democratization, and development project in the SADC region. (shrink)
The most valuable political theoretical contribution made by Marx's idea of socialism is towards the resolution of the seeming opposition of mass democracy and rational government. Marx follows Hegel's redefinition of political rationalization as the actualization of the nascent self?consciousness of the existing ethical world when he uses socialism as a statement of those tendencies of bourgeois society that will create the perspectives of social awareness that allow mass democracy. This thesis is made against aspects of the interpretation (...) of Marx's relation to Hegel in Bolshevik political theory. I claim that the Bolshevik idea of socialism as the militant political intervention of the dictatorship of the proletariat develops, through Engels, a position taken with respect to Hegel's philosophy of right in Marx's Rhenish Journal articles. This idea is, however, pre?Hegelian in the sense that it is open to a democratic criticism based on the philosophy of right understood in an alternative fashion. In his writings after leaving the Rhenish Journal and up to the Economic and Philosophical Manuscripts Marx makes this alternative available, and the notion of socialism he arrives at here turns on an awareness of the contradictions which make the militant political imposition of freedom impossible. Whereas for Bolshevism socialism is to be imposed on existing society, for Marx it is more the development within that society that makes possible mass democratic freedom. (shrink)
There is a growing literature under the banner of "deliberative democracy," and Paul Weithman suggests that much of it is based on, or at least implies, a critique of the kind of theory of justice pioneered by Rawls 1. The issue at stake is whether a democratic political theory can admit independent normative standards that apply to and constrain democratic decisions. A certain kind of critic thinks independent standards are anti-democratic. Weithman's defense of Rawlsian theory against this charge is, (...) I believe, instructively mistaken. Rawlsian theory escapes the charge but not for Weithman's reasons. This dispute might reasonably hope to shed light on the interrelations not only between democracy and justice, but also between these and political legitimacy. (shrink)
The series of conversations between Angela Y. Davis and Eduardo Mendieta entitled Abolition Democracy is a powerful investigation of the failed moral imagination of imperial democracies. After examining their discussion of how truncated political discourses enable abuses in both war and imprisonment, I look to the “exceptional” status of war prisons such as at Guantánamo and Abu Ghraib. I argue that domestic prisons, like international war prisons, are means for the paradigmatic functioning of the exception in modern democracy, (...) as described by Giorgio Agamben, and thus constitute no less of an “ultimate carceral threat.” Within the domestic prison, the legal status of inmates is virtually suspended and they are reduced to bare life. I conclude that we may yet share the hopes of Davis and Mendieta for an abolition democracy, and that such a democracy would bear the echoes of the unconditional sovereignty “to come” theorized by Jacques Derrida. (shrink)
What Talisse refers to as his “pluralist objection” states that Deweyan democracy, or John Dewey’s theory of democracy as contemporary Dewey scholars understand it, resembles a thick account, that is, a theory establishing a set of prior restraints on the values that can count as legitimate within a democratic community, and thus is incompatible with pluralism, at least insofar as contemporary political theorists define that term. In this paper, I argue that by undermining the pluralist objection, a reunion (...) of Deweyan democracy and pluralism—two ideas that have been torn asunder by Talisse’s misreading of Dewey andDeweyans—becomes possible. (shrink)
This paper is a rejoinder to papers by Sabina Lovibond, Nicholas Wolterstorff, Sumner B. Twiss, G. Scott Davis, M. Cathleen Kaveny, and John Kelsay on the author's recent book "Democracy and Tradition". The argument covers a host of topics, ranging from epistemology and methodology to human rights, the common law, and Islamic ethics.
Both Confucian and Islamic traditions stand in fraught and internally contested relationships with democracy and human rights. It can easily appear that the two traditions are in analogous positions with respect to the values associated with modernity, but a central contention of this essay is that Islam and Confucianism are not analogous in this way. Positions taken by advocates of the traditions are often similar, but the reasoning used to justify these positions differs in crucial ways. Whether one approaches (...) these questions from an intra-traditional, cross-traditional, or multi-traditional perspective, the essay shows that there is great value in getting clear on the ways in which one’s textual “canon” may constrain one. In the end, we will see that while there are creative Islamic approaches to taking human rights seriously, the looser constraints under which Confucians operate today may make things easier for Confucian advocates of human rights and democracy. (shrink)
While much has been written about social justice, even more has been written about democracy. Rarely is the relationship between social justice and democracy carefully considered. Does justice require democracy? Will democracy bring justice? This volume brings together leading authors who consider the relationship of democracy and justice. The intrinsic justness of democracy is challenged and the relationship between justice, democracy and the common good examined.
Similarities between pragmatist models of democracy and deliberative models have been explored over recent years, most notably in this journal ( Talisse 2004). However, the work of Iris Marion Young has, thus far, not figured in such comparative analyses and historical weighing of pragmatist antecedents in deliberativist work. In what follows, I wish to redress this oversight by placing Young in conversation with John Dewey and Jane Addams. Young's particular brand of deliberative theorizing focuses on the inclusion of women (...) and all those deemed Other in our democracies. She identifies a significant shortcoming in standard expositions of deliberative thought, pointing out that communicative style, structured by oppressive norms of gender, race, and class, to name but a few, may serve to undermine our full participation in political decision making. While this forms a valuable insight for those seeking to redress the exclusion of Others in democracies, it also draws attention to the centrality of differences of communication in deliberative settings. In what follows, I will highlight the integral role played by communication in Young's and Dewey's expositions of democracy while showing that Addams foreshadows Young's principal insight through an appreciation of communicative difference and its attendant political implications. (shrink)
Of the many ideological blind spots that have afflicted US and, to a lesser extent, European, perceptions and analysis of the economic, political and social milieu, none have been more debilitating than the equation of democracy with political liberalism. Thus those who attempt to derive propaganda value from such an equation are vulnerable, as the US government has found, to the rhetorical counter attack that in opposing democratically elected governments, such as that of Hamas or Hugo Chavez, they are (...) not merely being anti-democratic, but are in illiberally opposition to human rights and civil liberties also; an argument quiteindependent of the same charges, emanating more legitimately, from their support of, for example, the Masharraf regime and the Saud dictatorship.Furthermore no less an august body than the Council of Europe has drawn attention to the US government’s inhumane, humiliating, degrading and cruel treatment, including torture, of prisoners, at Guantanamo, and, seemingly even more extreme treatment of prisoners in the supposedly secret or “black” prisons operated both by the CIA, and other countries, where the torture of prisoners, often illegally or extra judicially rendered to them, has been outsourced. In light of this the paper takes up a discussion of the nature of the relationship between Liberalism, Democracy and Torture as it is germane to the current legitimation crisisfacing liberal democracies. (shrink)
It is often assumed that democracies can make good use of the epistemic benefi ts of diversity among their citizenry, but difficult to show why this is the case. In a deliberative democracy, epistemically relevant diversity has three aspects: the diversity of opinions, values, and perspectives. Deliberative democrats generally argue for an epistemic form of Rawls' difference principle: that good deliberative practice ought to maximize deliberative inputs, whatever they are, so as to benefi t all deliberators, including the least (...) eff ective. The proper maximandum of such a principle is not the pool of reasons, but rather the availability of perspectives. Th is sort of diversity makes robustness across different perspectives the proper epistemic aim of deliberative processes. Robustness also offers a measure of success for those democratic practices of inquiry based on the deliberation of all citizens. (shrink)
In reworking a variety of biological concepts, Developmental Systems Theory (DST) has made frequent use of parity of reasoning. We have done this to show, for instance, that factors that have similar sorts of impact on a developing organism tend nevertheless to be invested with quite different causal importance. We have made similar arguments about evolutionary processes. Together, these analyses have allowed DST not only to cut through some age-old muddles about the nature of development, but also to effect a (...) long-delayed reintegration of development into evolutionary theory. Our penchant for causal symmetry, however (or 'causal democracy', as it has recently been termed), has sometimes been misunderstood. This paper shows that causal symmetry is neither a platitude about multiple influences nor a denial of useful distinctions, but a powerful way of exposing hidden assumptions and opening up traditional formulations to fruitful change. (shrink)
In a recent article, Thomas Christiano defends the intrinsic justice of democracy grounded in the principle of equal consideration of interests. Each citizen is entitled to a single vote, equal in weight to all other citizens. The problem with this picture is that all citizens must meet a threshold of minimal competence. My argument is that Christiano is wrong to claim a minimum threshold of competency is fully consistent with the principle of equality. While standards of minimal competency may (...) be justifiable, these standards justify political inequality. This paper explores the relationship between equality and democracy in terms of minimal competency, demonstrating how minimal competency is justified and why it is inegalitarian in interesting ways. (shrink)
Taken as a model for how groups should make collective judgments and decisions, the ideal of deliberative democracy is inherently ambiguous. Consider the idealised case where it is agreed on all sides that a certain conclusion should be endorsed if and only if certain premises are admitted. Does deliberative democracy recommend that members of the group debate the premises and then individually vote, in the light of that debate, on whether or not to support the conclusion? Or does (...) it recommend that members individually vote on the premises, and then let their commitment to the conclusion be settled by whether or not the group endorses the required premises? Is deliberative democracy to enforce the discipline of reason at the individual level, as in the first possibility, or at the collective level, as in the second? (shrink)
Many states in the U.S. have adopted policies regarding human embryonic stem cell (hESC) research in the last few years. Some have arrived at these policies through legislative debate, some by referendum, and some by executive order. New York has chosen a unique structure for addressing policy decisions regarding this morally controversial issue by creating the Empire State Stem Cell Board with two Committees—an Ethics Committee and a Funding Committee. This essay explores the pros and cons of various policy arrangements (...) for making public policy decisions about morally controversial issues in bioethics (as well as other issues) through the lens of Deliberative Democracy, focusing on the principles of reciprocity, publicity, and accountability. Although New York's unique mechanism potentially offers an opportunity to make policy decisions regarding a morally controversial subject like hESC research in accord with the principles of Deliberative Democracy, this essay demonstrates its failure to do so in actual fact. A few relatively simple changes could make New York's program a real model for putting Deliberative Democracy into practice in making policy decisions regarding controversial bioethical issues. (shrink)
How can democratic governments be relied upon to achieve adequate political knowledge when they turn over their authority to those of no epistemic distinction whatsoever? This deep and longstanding concern is one that any proponent of epistemic conceptions of democracy must take seriously. While Condorcetian responses have recently attracted substantial interest, they are largely undermined by a fundamental neglect of agenda-setting. I argue that the apparent intractability of the problem of epistemic adequacy in democracy stems in large part (...) from a failure to appreciate the social character of political knowledge. A social point of view brings into focus a number of vital factors that bear on our understanding of democratic epistemology and our assessment of its prospects: the essential role of inclusive deliberation, the public's agenda-setting function, institutional provisions for policy feedback, the independence of expert communities, and the knowledge-pooling powers of markets. (shrink)
“Confucian democracy” is considered oxymoronic because Confucianism is viewed as lacking an idea of equality among persons necessary for democracy. Against this widespread opinion, this article argues that Confucianism presupposes a uniquely Confucian idea of equality and that therefore a Confucian conception of democracy distinct from liberal democracy is not only conceptually possible but also morally justifiable. This article engages philosophical traditions of East and West by, first, reconstructing the prevailing position based on Joshua Cohen’s political (...) liberalism; second, articulating a plausible conception of Confucian democracy predicated on Confucian conceptions of persons and political participation from the Mencian tradition; and third, exposing the implausibility of the prevailing position in light of the articulation. (shrink)
Deliberative democracy is often celebrated and endorsed because of its promise to include, empower, and emancipate otherwise oppressed and excluded social groups through securing their voice and granting them impact in reasoned public deliberation. This article explores the ability of Habermas’ theory of deliberative democracy to accommodate the demands of historically excluded social groups in democratic plural societies. It argues that the inclusive, transformative, and empowering potential of Habermas’ theory of deliberative democracy falters when confronted with particular (...) types of historical injustices. It falters because it pays little attention to the historical dimension of injustices and the demands to which it gives rise. The historical dimension of longstanding injustices, it is argued, gives rise to a set of distinctive demands, such as collective memory of exclusion, acknowledgement of historical injustices, taking responsibility, and offering apology and reparations for causing these injustices, which go beyond the type of democratic inclusion that is often offered by deliberative democracy. Yet, the solution is not to abandon the model of deliberative democracy. Quite the contrary, it remains a valuable basis for forward-looking political decision making. The article concludes that in order to achieve inclusive, empowering and transformative deliberation in consolidated democracies that have experienced historical injustices, the politics of reconciliation is indispensable. (shrink)
This article investigates the intersections of secrecy/interiority, the state, and speech/expression, and their implications for the rights of women. I propose a critique of commercial pornography that reanimates MacKinnon's claim that pornography and American democracy are in a relationship of mutual reinforcement, and incorporates poststructuralist (Lyotard, Baudrillard, and Butler) commitments to secrecy and unintelligibility, as well as their role in the production of pleasure.
(forthcoming) in Social and Ethical Implications of Nanotechnology edited by Fritz Allhoff, Patrick Lin, et. al. Nanotechnology offers society both great promise and potential peril. In order to ensure that we take reasonable steps to capitalise upon the former and yet avoid (or minimise the risk of ) the latter we must ensure that these new technologies are ethically regulated. In this paper I consider some of the diverse ethical and social concerns that arise with respect to nanotechnology from the (...) perspective of the normative theory of deliberative democracy. Following the account of deliberative democracy advanced by Amy Gutmann and Dennis Thompson (1996, 2004) I argue that a second-order social analysis of nanotechnology is necessary. Such an analysis seeks not a win a philosophical argument among rival first-order moral theories, but rather it searches for ways of dealing with the claims of the conflicting first-order theories that arise in debates concerning nanotechnology. (shrink)
To see "democracy as a tragic regime", as Cornelius Castoriadis did, is to recognize the ever-present risk of democracy’s cancellation, but it also means to emphasize the anti-democratic nature of such cancellation, thus its incompatibility with democracy. In the context of this understanding of democracy, the article takes the political to consist of those relations among people and among institutions within the polis, which aim at deciding about the polis’ fate. It takes the social to be (...) those relations among people and among institutions within the polis, to whom such decisions about the polis’ fate apply and whom they create. If democracy is understood as tension between the two, then the relation between those who decide and those who are subject of the decision is never entirely pacified – hence, always contested and in need of specification. Using the examples of the state of exception and totalitarianism (temporary and permanent self-cancellation), the article argues that these situations are outside a linear continuation with the democratic phenomenon and are due to a displacement, which is akin to the hubristic displacement. (shrink)