This article surveys the history of the concept of democracy from Ancient times to the present. According to the author, the conceptual history of democracy shows that the overwhelming success of the concept is most of all due to its ability to subsume very different historical ideas and realities under its semantic field. Moreover, the historical evolution of the concept reveals that no unequivocal definition is possible because of the significant paradoxes, aporias, and contradictions it contains. These are popular sovereignty vs. representation, quality vs. quantity, liberty vs. equality, individual vs. collective, and, finally, the synchronicity between similarities and dissimilarities. The ubiquitous usage of democracy in present-day political language makes it impossible to speak of it from an external perspective. Thus, both democratic theory and practice are suffused with empirical and normative elements.
Is the Concept of Democracy Essentially Contested?
Erik Oddvar Eriksen and John Erik Fossum, eds., Democracy in the European Union (New York: Routledge, 2000)
Dusan Sidjanski, The Federal Future of Europe: From the European Community to the European Union (Ann Arbor: Michigan University Press, 2000)
a normative theory of financial risks, which can take these ontologies comprehensively into account. The text proceeds as follows. First, I will make preliminary remarks on the meaning of ‘risk’. Then I will describe some features of the latest U
Taking Stock and Looking Ahead - Selen A. Ercan with André Bächtiger
Selen A. Ercan and André Bächtiger
Deliberative democracy is a growing branch of democratic theory. It suggests understanding and assessing democracy in terms of the quality of communication among citizens, politicians, as well as between citizens and politicians. In this interview, drawing on his extensive research on deliberative practice within and beyond parliaments, André Bächtiger reflects on the development of the field over the last two decades, the relationship between normative theory and empirical research, and the prospects for practicing deliberation in populist times.
Maurizio Passerin d'Entrèves
This article examines the question of justice in democratic constitutional states from the standpoint of a theory of deliberative democracy. Its aim is to show that the validity of a conception of justice and the legitimacy of political institutions and public policies based upon it can best be defended on the basis of a normative theory of deliberative democracy. This theory, I shall argue, is superior to the two main normative models of justification that appeal to the ideal of neutrality (Rawls, Larmore, Nagel) or to the ideal of perfectionism (Raz, Galston).
In an effort towards developing a normative theory of federalism, this paper offers a critical assessment of the work of Will Kymlicka and Ferran Requejo in order to show the progress and failures of liberal nationalist authors on issues raised by the normative dimensions of federalism in Western multinational contexts. More exactly, the paper argues that both authors fail to give a complete theory of federalism because the liberal conception of self-determination as non-interference can only create superficial unity and contingent trust, especially in multinational contexts, where non-interference is to regulate relations between particular identities and conceptions of citizenship. Drawing on this critical assessment of liberal nationalism, I argue that the neo-republican ideal of non-domination, as developed by Philip Pettit (1997, 2012), provides us not only with the adequate normative heuristics to assess national rights of self-determination, but also international relations and the institutional conditions needed to create binding trust within multinational federal constellations.
Political philosophy has been under the sway of a certain picture since Rawls’s A Theory of Justice was published in 1971. This picture combines the idea that the problem of justice should be approached from the direction of ideal normative theory, and that there are some anchoring ideas that secure the justificatory role of a hypothetical agreement. I think this picture and the hold it has over political philosophy is beginning to fragment. This fragmentation I think is most evident in the skepticism that has become a routine response to the Kantian idea that ‘we’ can ‘discover’ the terms of an agreement that has both a categorical force and a universal scope. But as the picture fragments we are still left with the framework and vocabulary of Rawls’s difficult and elaborate theory. The major difficulty confronting the Rawlsian project (the problem of pluralism as I will argue below) is itself defined in terms of Rawls’s conceptual language. And this serves only to obscure the real challenge and keep us ‘bewitched’ by Rawls’s narrow way of seeing issues. In being bewitched in this way we do not see that the problem of pluralism confronts Rawls’s project as a whole, rather than requiring adjustments and accommodations.
Christian B. Miller
While Richard Rorty’s general views on truth, objectivity, and relativism continue to attract much attention from professional philosophers, some of his contributions to ethical theory have thus far been remarkably neglected. In other work, I have begun the task of sketching what a Rortyan approach to traditional questions in meta-ethics might look like.1 Here, however, I shall attempt to summarize and evaluate some of the contributions that Rorty has made to important debates in first-order normative theory. More specifically, my attention will be devoted primarily to the question of what moral obligations of respect and tolerance, if any, we have towards those who act out of moral frameworks which are divergent from our own. The paper proceeds in three parts. In the first section, I suggest that one promising way of approaching ethical issues about tolerance is through the somewhat novel strategy of first clearly differentiating the various forms of moral relativism. With this background in place, we can then proceed in section two to the details of Rorty’s own view. Finally, the paper concludes with some worries about the plausibility, coherence, and stability of Rorty’s positive proposal.
A Critique of Thad Metz’s ‘Towards an African Moral Theory’
norm, some basic value like utility or dignity, in virtue of which one can differentiate between (what all) right and/or wrong actions have in common (321). His normative theory is ‘relational’, as opposed to individualist, 2 insofar as it ultimately
The Role of Bodily Integrity
Mar Cabezas and Gottfried Schweiger
inequalities and provide a basis for measuring well-being in the lives of girls. The capability approach can be interpreted as a non-ideal normative theory of justice and freedom, and, therefore, as a framework in which to theorize ethical and political