Against Analogy

Why Analogical Arguments in Support of Workplace Democracy Must Necessarily Fail

in Democratic Theory
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  • 1 CNRS, France fregarob@gmail.com
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Abstract

This article asks whether the analogy between state and firm is a promising strategy for promoting workplace democracy and provides a negative answer, explaining why analogical arguments are not a good strategy for justifying workplace democracy. The article contends that the state-firm analogy is misguided for at least three reasons: (1) it is structurally inconclusive, (2) it is based on a category mistake, and (3) it leads us away from the central question we should ask, which is: What would concretely imply, and what is required, in order to democratize the workplace? I begin by offering an interpretation of the state-firm analogy which shows that use of the analogical argument in Dahl's justification of workplace democracy engenders excessive and unnecessary theoretical costs which bear negatively on his conclusion. I then proceed to examine more recent contributions to the debate and show that supporters and critics of the state-firm analogy alike do not advance our understanding of the analogical argument. In the last part of the article I provide a general theoretical explanation of why arguments based on the state-firm analogy are not good candidates for defending workplace democracy.

Contributor Notes

Roberto Frega is permanent researcher at the CNRS (French National Center for Scientific Research) in Paris. His areas of specialization is political philosophy, with a focus on democratic theory. He has published two books on political epistemology (Voci della ragione, Quodlibet, Macerata, 2009; Les sources sociales de la normativitè, Vrin 2013), and a book on moral and political philosophy (Practice, Judgment, and the Challenged of Moral and Political Disagreement. A pragmatist Account, Lexington, Lanhan, Md. 2012). His latest book, The Democratic Project, is forthcoming with Palgrave Macmillan (2019). His articles have appeared in international journals such as The European Journal of Political Theory, Constellations, Critical Horizons, Social theory and Practice, Metaphilosophy, Thesis Eleven, The Southern Journal of Philosophy, The Review of International Studies, Critical Review of international social and political philosophy. E-mail: fregarob@gmail.com

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