Prospects for a Contemporary Republicanism

The Monist 84 (1):113-130 (2001)
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Abstract

My discussion of the prospects for a contemporary republicanism will revolve around, primarily, Philip Pettit’s Republicanism and, secondarily, Jürgen Habermas’s The Structural Transformation of the Public Sphere. Pettit and Habermas may be understood as describing how the conceptions of certain central concepts in political philosophy, in particular, conceptions expressing ideals associated with the republican tradition, were transformed with the expansion of the citizenry in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. Their interest in the matter is more than historical. For both Pettit and Habermas, the pre-transformation world espoused attractive ideals which were lost in the post-transformation world, and indeed are lost in our contemporary world. Beyond their historical interest is a concern for the viability of reinstating republican conceptions of those ideals in our contemporary political culture.

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Gurpreet Rattan
University of Toronto, Mississauga

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