This is the first book to be published in this exciting new series on political philosophy. Cunningham provides a critical and clear introduction to the main contemporary approaches to democracy: participatory democracy, classic and radical pluralism, deliberative democracy, catallaxy, and others. Also discussed are theorists in the background of current democratic thought, such as Tocqueville, Mill, and Rousseau. The book includes applications of democratic theories including an extended discussion of democracy and globalisation.
In this brief but powerful book, acclaimed political philosopher C.B. Macpherson sets out in bold relief the essence of liberal democracy, both as it is currently conceived and as it might be reimagined. The Wynford edition includes a new Introduction by Frank Cunningham.
Two years ago, the distribution of the world’s people reached the point at which over half now live in cities. Some social scientists and urban planners (but few political leaders other than those of large municipalities) had seen this change coming. With one group of exceptions, philosophers have paid less attention to the subject. I would like to advance some ideas about how to think philosophically about cities, drawing upon North American and European thinkers and traditions.
A central mistake in Rolf Gruner's recent article on understanding in the socia sciences in ferreted out, and consideration of it is used both to analyse Gruner's interpretation of understanding and to sketch a more adequate interpretation. The mistake is in distinguishing meanings and facts. The analysis suggests that Gruner was forced to see understanding both as a special kind of explanation and at the same time as no explanation. The sketch offers a distinction of three senses of ?understanding? ? (...) as identification of a certain kind of subject matter, as explanation of it, and as a subjective feeling consequent upon such explanation. (shrink)
when the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives published an ambitious report, The Rich and the Rest of Us by Armine Yalnizyan, reactions from the political right quickly followed. This was, of course, to be expected. Her research describes galloping disparities of income among Canadians from 1976, where after-tax median income of the top 10% of families was 31 times higher than that of the bottom 10%, to 2004 when it was 82 times higher. An even more dramatic case could be (...) made by comparing wealth as well as income, including such things as real estate, stocks, and savings. Also, the report does not throw into relief the most grotesque of disparities since the top 10% of incomes includes both families earning $110,000 a year and the multimillionaires. In my naiveté I anticipated an exchange of technical debates over analytic methods, sampling strategies, data sources, and the like. Instead, the rError: Illegal entry in bfchar block in ToUnicode CMapight-wing pundits and think tanks, for the most part, accepted the findings and reacted to them by complaining that reversing the trend would require socialistic state interference with market forces. A theme running through the critical reactions was that nobody has grounds for objection to growing income disparities as long as the worst off are no worse off than they had been earlier. In fact, if the worst off are somewhat better off, the findings would, it is claimed, lend support to the “trickle down” theory endorsed by neoliberals at least since the Thatcher/Reagan era. Trickle-down assertions depend on the never proven assumption that ballooning income of the rich is a central cause of economic growth (rather than being made possible by growth, which has other origins). If there is anything to the trickle-down theory, it is nullified exactly by the sort of disparity in income the Rich and the Rest.. (shrink)
This book is an important contribution to the theory of democracy and socialism. The underlying question it poses is: how, if at all, can one have both socialism and democracy? In posing an answer to this question, Professor Cunningham addresses the following topics: the definition of democracy and whether socialism is necessary to its progress: the socialist retrieval of liberal democracy associated with the work of C. B. Macpherson: the political consciousness that Gramsci placed at the center of socialist politics: (...) and attempts by those in women's and national liberation movements to go beyond 'class reductionism' in socialist theory and practice. Unlike other works on this topic, the book devotes much attention to defining key terms and drawing politically relevant conclusions. It will therefore be fully accessible to undergraduates as well as graduates and teachers of philosophy and political science. (shrink)
This paper suggests that the truths of religion and democracy are, respectively, theocracy and moral relativism. Religion tends toward theocracy, the thesis that religiously influenced political norms should trump secular norms. Democracy tends toward moral relativism, the thesis that society lacks agreed upon standards by which the varying and conflicting moral views therein may be adjudicated. The conflict between religion and democracy is thus unavoidable: theocracy insists that any conflict with democracy be decided in favor of the religious principles in (...) question; and the moral relativism engendered by democracy cannot be tolerated by religion. The recommendation is to act in accordance with principles that will ease the conflict by strengthening tendencies counter to the two, namely the principle of chaos and the principle of order. (shrink)
This paper suggests that the truths of religion and democracy are, respectively, theocracy and moral relativism. Religion tends toward theocracy, the thesis that religiously influenced political norms should trump secular norms. Democracy tends toward moral relativism, the thesis that society lacks agreed upon standards by which the varying and conflicting moral views therein may be adjudicated. The conflict between religion and democracy is thus unavoidable: theocracy insists that any conflict with democracy be decided in favor of the religious principles in (...) question; and the moral relativism engendered by democracy cannot be tolerated by religion. The recommendation is to act in accordance with principles that will ease the conflict by strengthening tendencies counter to the two, namely the principle of chaos (which mitigates the effects of religion) and the principle of order (which serves to mitigate the effects of democracy). (shrink)
Considerations of social justice pertain to universities with respect to reserved spaces for applicants from disadvantaged groups, targeted hiring, differential student fees or faculty workloads and salaries, and similarly contested matters. This paper displaces debates over what constitutes just allocation of university resources from those over theories of justice in general to those about alternative visions of the proper goal of universities. To this end, educational and democratic theories of John Dewey are drawn on as an alternative to elitist conceptions (...) and the implications of these competing viewpoints for specific justice-related issues are explicated. (shrink)
Frank Cunningham discusses the idea that there is no universal form of democracy, in his contribution on MacPherson, “Globalization and developmental democracy”. Working at a time in which colonial attitudes had not yet been radically questioned, MacPherson analyzed the democratic potential of peoples that were, in Western eyes, still deemed too immature for self-government. MacPherson’s theoretical framework was particularly suited to such an endeavour, because his definition of democracy did not focus on narrow institutional characteristics. Democracy, according to MacPherson’s broader (...) definition, designates a form of society that gives all individuals the opportunity to develop their “truly human potentials”. (shrink)
In memory of Professor Louise Marcil, from the University of Montreal, who died prematurely in April 1995, this special issue of Dialogue is dedicated to Equality. In addition to presenting the various contributions, the Introduction traces the main strands of Louise Marcil's work on equality. The impressive corpus of her writings on the subject is characterized throughout by sensitivity to the historical and conceptual complexity of egalitarian theories and policies and by a depth of scholarship, the richness of which defies (...) classification into traditional philosophical schools. Moreover, far from being merely abstract scholarship, this work was clearly intended to strengthen actual egalitarian social projects, to which Louise Marcil was passionately committed. The contributions to this special issue of Dialogue have been selected in large part to reflect the diversity and scholarly standards of Louise Marcil's approach to equality as well as its engaged spirit. (shrink)
Along with the rest of his Critique de Ia Raison Dialectique, which it introduces, the “Question de Méthode” takes an important place in the development of Jean-Paul Sartre's philosophical and political thought. However, the Search is also a challenge to Marxists either to defend or abandon certain of their views, and as such I think it raises some crucial issues. It is the purpose of this essay not to produce a systematic critique of Sartre's influential work, but rather to explore (...) and sharpen some principles of the methodology of historical materialism by critically examining a selection of interrelated misconceptions about Marxism exhibited in the Search and shared by many friends as well as foes of the historical materialist approach to the study of human society. (shrink)
versity is full of all manner of public activity: students talking, reading, dozing, playing cards; tables representing a wide variety of ethnic communities and clubs advertising their functions, soliciting membership, and serving as gathering places; and—~most directly related to the topic of this essay—students advocating mainly radical political causes, passing out material exposing and denouncing putative (and more often than not correctly imputed) wrongdoings by authorities ranging from the university administration to the federal government and beyond. It is true that (...) both university officials and students making use of this space count on its campus setting to informally discourage use of it by other than students, but the space admits of an indefinite variety of uses, and at least no members of the.. (shrink)