"Which is to be Master?"-The Indefensibility of Political Representation

Philosophical Inquiry 31 (3-4):1-10 (2009)
Government, the systematic exercise of command by some over others backed by the allegedly legitimate use of violence, requires justification. All government is predicated upon a distinction between rulers and ruled. Who should occupy the position of ruler and who the position of the ruled is a perennial problem. In thecontemporary world, representative democracy is the only plausible contender for the role of justified government. The key to the justification and popularacceptance of democracy as a (or the) legitimate form of government is the idea of representation, the idea being that in a representative democracy, the people,in some way, rule themselves and thus bridge the gap between the ruler and ruled. However, if a satisfactory account of representation is not forthcoming, thejustificatory status of representative democracy becomes problematic
Keywords Ancient Philosophy  Contemporary Philosophy
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ISBN(s) 1105-235X
DOI 10.5840/philinquiry2009313/41
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