Deliberative Democracy and Conceptions of Freedom

Dissertation, Columbia University (2004)

Christian F. Rostboll
University of Copenhagen
This dissertation is about the connection between democracy and freedom in deliberative democracy. I argue that deliberative democracy presupposes a theory of freedom and present a suggestion to what that theory entails. That is, I propose a new formulation of the theory of deliberative democracy that is made in terms of the dimensions of freedom it should be normatively committed to. It is my thesis that deliberative democracy aims at not one kind of freedom but at multiple dimensions of freedom. The contention is not only that deliberative democracy as a theory should be normatively committed to multiple dimensions of freedom but also that the practice of public deliberation entails, expresses, and develops the different dimensions of freedom. As a theory, deliberative democracy is in my formulation a regulative ideal that in terms of dimensions of freedom suggest what we should aspire to and in light of which we can see and criticize the deficiencies of present conditions and institutions. ;The version of deliberative democracy defended here should be seen as a response to and rejection of the prevailing synthesis between Habermasian critical theory and Rawlsian political liberalism. The argument is that this synthesis obscures and neglects important concerns in terms of freedom and emancipation. The focus on a broader theory of freedom is an attempt to reinvigorate the critical edge of the deliberative democratic project. The suggested theory of deliberative democracy, however, is not blind to the importance of the dimension of freedom stressed by political liberalism. It is exactly for this reason that deliberative democracy must be seen as committed to a number of different dimensions of freedom. This dissertation develops a theory of deliberative democracy that simultaneously can serve as the basis for a critique of existing conditions and institutions and respect the individual and political freedom of citizens with divergent views of the good. I argue that this is not achieved by the prevalent synthesis on Rawlsian grounds but requires that we retrieve dimensions of freedom stressed only in earlier critical theory.
Keywords No keywords specified (fix it)
Categories (categorize this paper)
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

PhilArchive copy

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 56,913
External links

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.

Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

No citations found.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles


Added to PP index

Total views

Recent downloads (6 months)

How can I increase my downloads?


Sorry, there are not enough data points to plot this chart.

My notes