Democracy and the Need for Normative Closure

Paul Voice
Bennington College
The paper is a response to Russell Daylight’s “In the Name of Democracy”. I argue that Daylight’s postmodernist approach to the question of democracy is flawed in several respects. First, he interprets the claim that the meaning of democracy is open to entail that there can be no closure when democratic norms are in dispute. I argue that normative closure is not only essential but also necessary to democratic practice, in particular for democratic legitimacy. I reject the claim that normative closure requires transcendental truths or dubious metaphysical commitments. Second, I critically examine Daylight’s positive proposal for “language-citizens.” I end by offering a sketch of a theory of democratic legitimacy that I believe evades the charges that Daylight and postmodernists offer against normative democratic theory.
Keywords Applied Philosophy  General Interest  Social and Political Philosophy
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ISBN(s) 0739-098X
DOI 10.5840/ijap201562646
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