Introduction -- Methodology : an approach to philosophical analysis -- Fukuyama I : the concept of a history with universal direction and end point -- Fukuyama II : why does history end in liberal democracy? -- Postmodern perspectives on the flow of time -- Questioning the universality of human nature -- The myth of the individual : how "I" is constructed and gives an account of itself -- A theory of a history which ends in liberal (...)democracy through a reading of Fukuyama and postmodernism. (shrink)
Origins: democracy in the ancient Greek world --Democracy suppressed: the Roman republic and empire -- The early Middle Ages and the transition from feudalism to capitalism -- The English Revolution and parliamentary democracy -- The American Revolution and constitutional redefinition of democracy -- The revolutionary revival of democracy in France -- The revolutions of 1848-49 -- Capitalist expansion, globalisation and democratisation -- The Marxist critique of capitalism and representative democracy -- Precursors of socialist participatory (...)democracy: the Paris Commune 1871 and Russian Revolutions of 1905 and 1917. (shrink)
Hegel claims democracy is inappropriate for a modern state and offers two justifications: an empirical one focusing on the failure of existing democracies; and a metaphysical one focusing on the inappropriateness for the modern state of the ideal of individual sovereignty that Hegel associates with democracy. This paper shows how Hegel’s discussion of democracy is relevant to the broader interpretive questions of whether Hegel’s understanding of history and of the development of political institutions is truly empirical (...) and whether Hegel accepts the relativist implications of an empirical approach. (shrink)
This article offers an overview of the French political philosopher Claude Lefort's oeuvre, arguing that his work should be read as a normative or even universalist justification of democracy and human rights. The notion of history plays a crucial notion in this enterprise, as Lefort demonstrates that there is an ineluctable 'historical' or 'political' condition of human coexistence, a condition that can only be properly accommodated in a regime of democracy and human rights. This reading of Lefort (...) is contrasted with two other interpretations of his work. The first of these, by Sofia Nasstrom, is shown to overlook the importance of history in Lefort's understanding of democracy. The second, by Bernard Flynn, is shown to overlook the universalist implications of Lefort's theory. (shrink)
Joseph P. Fell, Vincent Colapietro, and Michael J. McGandy, eds., The Task of Criticism: Essays on Philosophy, History, and Community , ; and Michael J. McGandy, The Active Life: Miller's Metaphysics of Democracy.
There has been a long history of discussion whether intellectual or socioeconomic factors caused the rise of constitutional state and democracy, replacing the previous authoritarian forms of government. Some authors emphasized the role developmental psychology could play in illuminating the intellectual causes to these political phenomena. According to Piagetian researches, modern humankind has run through a psychogenetic evolution during the past several centuries. This psychological transformation entails higher forms of socio-moral consciousness decisive to the loss of legitimacy of (...) authoritarian forms and to the erection of more humane political forms such as constitutional state and democracy. (shrink)
In _Counter-History of the Present_ Gabriel Rockhill contests, dismantles, and displaces one of the most widespread understandings of the contemporary world: that we are all living in a democratized and globalized era intimately connected by a single, overarching economic and technological network. Noting how such a narrative fails to account for the experiences of the billions of people who lack economic security, digital access, and real political power, Rockhill interrogates the ways in which this grand narrative has emerged in (...) the same historical, economic, and cultural context as the fervid expansion of neoliberalism. He also critiques the concurrent valorization of democracy, which is often used to justify U.S. military interventions on the behalf of capital. Developing an alternative account of the current conjuncture that acknowledges the plurality of lived experiences around the globe and in different social strata, he shifts the foundations upon which debates about the contemporary world can be staged. Rockhill's counter-history thereby offers a new grammar for historical narratives, creating space for the articulation of futures no longer engulfed in the perpetuation of the present. (shrink)
The role of elites vis-à-vis the mass public in the construction and successful functioning of democracy has long been of central interest to political theorists. In _Silence and Democracy_, John Zumbrunnen explores this theme in Thucydides’ famous history of the Peloponnesian War as a way of focusing our thoughts about this relationship in our own modern democracy. In Periclean Athens, according to Thucydides, “what was in name a democracy became in actuality rule by the first man.” (...) This political transformation of Athenian political life raises the question of how to interpret the silence of the demos. Zumbrunnen distinguishes the “silence of contending voices” from the “collective silence of the demos,” and finds the latter the more difficult and intriguing problem. It is in the complex interplay of silence, speech, and action that Zumbrunnen teases out the meaning of democracy for Thucydides in both its domestic and international dimensions and shows how we may benefit from the Thucydidean text in thinking about the ways in which the silence of ordinary citizens can enable the domineering machinations of political elites in America and elsewhere today. (shrink)
In this comprehensive interview with Charles Taylor, the focus is put on the conceptual level. Taylor reflects on the relationship between history, narrativity and social critique, between social imaginaries and social change, and between his own thought and that of Cambridge School history of ideas, Nietzschean genealogy, Frankfurt School critical theory, and agonistic approaches to the political. This interview not only captures the tremendous breadth and range of Taylor’s theoretical interests, it also vindicates his contention that the common (...) thread of his oeuvre is the attempt to work out a non-reductive, non-mechanistic, non-atomistic philosophical anthropology. Still, it offers new insights into Taylor's most recent thinking and his intellectual engagement with the challenges of our time. (shrink)
When discussing governance in Africa, one must be circumspect when applying the term "democracy." One reason for doing so is because the term is imprecise. However, while differing in the attributes they posit and the qualifications they impose, those who write of democracy join in emphasizing its essential property: that it is a form of government in which political power is employed to serve the interests of the public rather than of those who govern. And it is this (...) attribute that I take as defining good governance. In this essay, I argue that democracy, in this sense, has been reborn in Africa. The evidence, I argue, strongly suggests that its renaissance has been accompanied by changes in public policies and political practices-ones that generate benefit for the people. But the evidence also suggests that political dangers remain: incumbent parties strive to suborn the electoral process and incumbent executives seek to prolong their terms in office. As elsewhere, to retain their political liberties, Africa's citizens must "remain vigilant."Paraphrasing John Adams at the Constitutional, Africa today may enjoy better governance, but "can [she] keep it.". (shrink)
The project of public-reason liberalism faces a basic problem: publicly justified principles are typically too abstract and vague to be directly applied to practical political disputes, whereas applicable specifications of these principles are not uniquely publicly justified. One solution could be a legislative procedure that selects one member from the eligible set of inconclusively justified proposals. Yet if liberal principles are too vague to select sufficiently specific legislative proposals, can they, nevertheless, select specific legislative procedures? Based on the work of (...) Gerald Gaus, this article argues that the only candidate for a conclusively justified decision procedure is a majoritarian or otherwise ‘neutral’ democracy. If the justification of democracy requires an equality baseline in the design of political regimes and if justifications for departure from this baseline are subject to reasonable disagreement, a majoritarian design is justified by default. Gaus’s own preference for super-majoritarian procedures is based on disputable specifications of justified liberal principles. These procedures can only be defended as a sectarian preference if the equality baseline is rejected, but then it is not clear how the set of justifiable political regimes can be restricted to full democracies. (shrink)
In this essay, Scott Pratt develops the tension at work in Democracy and Education between conceptions of multiculturalism that emerge from Dewey's commitment to progress as a process of civilization and from his contrasting commitment to a vision of progress as a localized process that requires respect for boundaries and limits. The first is related to what Patrick Wolfe has called “settler colonialism.” The second conception of multiculturalism, framed by the aims of education and the conception of growth, avoids (...) the problems of the first and provides a foundation for a practical, decolonial multiculturalism in the context of twenty-first-century education. (shrink)
After its publication in 1916, Democracy and Education opened up a global debate about educational thought that is still ongoing. Various translations of Dewey's work, appearing at different times, have aided in introducing his ideas within different conversations and across different cultures. The introduction of Dewey's masterwork through academic, institutional, or political avenues has influenced its reception within contemporary educational scenarios; these avenues need to be taken into account when analyzing the book's reception as well as its impact on (...) the reconstruction of educational discourse. (shrink)
It is in the complex interplay of silence, speech, and action that Zumbrunnen teases out the meaning of democracy for Thucydides in both its domestic and international dimensions and shows how we may benefit from the Thucydidean text in ...