Democratic Authority

Author: David M. Estlund
Publisher: Princeton University Press
ISBN: 9781400831548
Size: 41.54 MB
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Democracy is not naturally plausible. Why turn such important matters over to masses of people who have no expertise? Many theories of democracy answer by appealing to the intrinsic value of democratic procedure, leaving aside whether it makes good decisions. In Democratic Authority, David Estlund offers a groundbreaking alternative based on the idea that democratic authority and legitimacy must depend partly on democracy's tendency to make good decisions. Just as with verdicts in jury trials, Estlund argues, the authority and legitimacy of a political decision does not depend on the particular decision being good or correct. But the "epistemic value" of the procedure--the degree to which it can generally be accepted as tending toward a good decision--is nevertheless crucial. Yet if good decisions were all that mattered, one might wonder why those who know best shouldn't simply rule. Estlund's theory--which he calls "epistemic proceduralism"--avoids epistocracy, or the rule of those who know. He argues that while some few people probably do know best, this can be used in political justification only if their expertise is acceptable from all reasonable points of view. If we seek the best epistemic arrangement in this respect, it will be recognizably democratic--with laws and policies actually authorized by the people subject to them.

Democratic Authority

Author: David M. Estlund
Publisher:
ISBN: 9780691124179
Size: 20.37 MB
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Democracy, Estlund argues, is not naturally plausible. Why turn such important matters over to masses of people who have no expertise? Theories of democracy often try to answer this objection by appealing to the intrinsic value of democratic procedure. Estlund shows why this procedure doesn't work and offers an alternative.

Democratic Authority And The Separation Of Church And State

Author: Robert Audi
Publisher: Oxford University Press
ISBN: 0190208147
Size: 80.53 MB
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Democratic states must protect the liberty of citizens and must accommodate both religious liberty and cultural diversity. This democratic imperative is one reason for the increasing secularity of most modern democracies. Religious citizens, however, commonly see a secular state as unfriendly toward religion. This book articulates principles that enable secular governments to protect liberty in a way that judiciously separates church and state and fully respects religious citizens. After presenting a brief account of the relation between religion and ethics, the book shows how ethics can be independent of religion-evidentially autonomous in a way that makes moral knowledge possible for secular citizens--without denying religious sources a moral authority of their own. With this account in view, it portrays a church-state separation that requires governments not only to avoid religious establishment but also to maintain religious neutrality. The book shows how religious neutrality is related to such issues as teaching evolutionary biology in public schools, the legitimacy of vouchers to fund private schooling, and governmental support of "faith-based initiatives." The final chapter shows how the proposed theory of religion and politics incorporates toleration and forgiveness as elements in flourishing democracies. Tolerance and forgiveness are described; their role in democratic citizenship is clarified; and in this light a conception of civic virtue is proposed. Overall, the book advances the theory of liberal democracy, clarifies the relation between religion and ethics, provides distinctive principles governing religion in politics, and provides a theory of toleration for pluralistic societies. It frames institutional principles to guide governmental policy toward religion; it articulates citizenship standards for political conduct by individuals; it examines the case for affirming these two kinds of standards on the basis of what, historically, has been called natural reason; and it defends an account of toleration that enhances the practical application of the ethical framework both in individual nations and in the international realm.

Democratic Autonomy

Author: Henry S. Richardson
Publisher: Oxford University Press on Demand
ISBN: 9780195150919
Size: 65.19 MB
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What would our decision-making procedures look like if they were actually guided by the much-discussed concept of "deliberative democracy"? What does rule by the people for the people entail? And how can a modern government's reliance on administrative agencies be reconciled with this populist ideal? What form must democratic reasoning take in the modern administrative state? Democratic Autonomy squarely faces these challenges to the deliberative democratic ideal. It identifies processes of reasoning that avert bureaucratic domination and bring diverse people into political agreement. To bridge our differences intelligently, Richardson argues, we cannot rely on instrumentalist approaches to policy reasoning, such as cost-benefit analysis. Instead, citizens must arrive at reasonable compromises through fair, truth-oriented processes of deliberation. Using examples from programs as diverse as disability benefits and environmental regulation, he shows how the administrative policy-making necessary to carrying out most legislation can be part of our deciding what to do. Opposing both those liberal theorists who have attacked the populist ideal and those neo-republican theorists who have given up on it, Richardson builds an account of popular rule that is sensitive to the challenges to public deliberation that arise from relying on liberal constitutional guarantees, representative institutions, majority rule, and administrative rulemaking. Written in a nontechnical style and engaged with practical issues of everyday politics, this highly original and rigorous restatement of what democracy entails is essential reading for political theorists, philosophers, public choice theorists, constitutional and administrative lawyers, and policy analysts.

The Constitution Of Equality

Author: Thomas Christiano
Publisher: OUP Oxford
ISBN: 0191613916
Size: 50.30 MB
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What is the ethical basis of democracy? And what reasons do we have to go along with democratic decisions even when we disagree with them? And when do we have reason to say that we may justly ignore democratic decisions? These questions must be answered if we are to have answers to some of the most important questions facing our global community, which include whether there is a human right to democracy and whether we must attempt to spread democracy throughout the globe. This book provides a philosophical account of the moral foundations of democracy and of liberalism. It shows how democracy and basic liberal rights are grounded in the principle of public equality, which tells us that in the establishment of law and policy we must treat persons as equals in ways they can see are treating them as equals. The principle of public equality is shown to be the fundamental principle of social justice. This account enables us to understand the nature and roles of adversarial politics and public deliberation in political life. It gives an account of the grounds of the authority of democracy. It also shows when the authority of democracy runs out. The author shows how the violations of democratic and liberal rights are beyond the legitimate authority of democracy, how the creation of persistent minorities in a democratic society, and the failure to ensure a basic minimum for all persons weaken the legitimate authority of democracy.

Democracy Disfigured

Author: Nadia Urbinati
Publisher: Harvard University Press
ISBN: 0674726383
Size: 74.94 MB
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In Democracy Disfigured, Nadia Urbinati diagnoses the ills that beset the body politic in an age of hyper-partisanship and media monopolies and offers a spirited defense of the messy compromises and contentious outcomes that define democracy. Urbinati identifies three types of democratic disfiguration: the unpolitical, the populist, and the plebiscitarian. Each undermines a crucial division that a well-functioning democracy must preserve: the wall separating the free forum of public opinion from governmental institutions that enact the will of the people. Unpolitical democracy delegitimizes political opinion in favor of expertise. Populist democracy radically polarizes the public forum in which opinion is debated. And plebiscitary democracy overvalues the aesthetic and nonrational aspects of opinion. For Urbinati, democracy entails a permanent struggle to make visible the issues that citizens deem central to their lives. Opinion is thus a form of action as important as the mechanisms that organize votes and mobilize decisions. Urbinati focuses less on the overt enemies of democracy than on those who pose as its friends: technocrats wedded to procedure, demagogues who make glib appeals to "the people," and media operatives who, given their preference, would turn governance into a spectator sport and citizens into fans of opposing teams.

Does Truth Matter

Author: Ronald Tinnevelt
Publisher: Springer Science & Business Media
ISBN: 1402088493
Size: 50.97 MB
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The claim once made by philosophers of unique knowledge of the essence of humanity and society has fallen into disrepute. Neither Platonic forms, divine revelation nor metaphysical truth can serve as the ground for legitimating social and political norms. On the political level many seem to agree that democracy doesn’t need foundations. Nor are its citizens expected to discuss the worth of their comprehensive conceptions of the good life. According to Rawls, for example, we have to accept that “politics in a democratic society can never be guided by what we see as the whole truth (...)”. (1993: 243) And yet we still call upon truth when we participate in defining the basic structure our society and argue why our opinions, beliefs and preferences need to be taken seriously. We do not think that our views need to be taken into account by others because they are our views, but because we think they are true. If in a democratic society citizens have to deal with the challenge of affirming their claims as true, we need to analyse the precise relationship between truth and democracy. Does truth matter to democracy and if so, what is the place of truth in democratic politics? How can citizens affirm the truth of their claims and accept - at the same time - that their truth is just one amongst many? Our book centers on the role of the public sphere in these pressing questions. It tries to give a comprehensive answer to these questions from the perspective of the main approaches of contemporary democratic theory: deliberative democracy, political pragmatism and liberalism. A confrontation of these approaches, will result in a more encompassing philosophical understanding of our plural democracy, which – in this era of globalization – is more complex than ever before. Because a good understanding of the function, meaning and shortcomings of the public sphere is essential to answering these questions, a good deal of the book addresses these issues. Historically, after all, the idea that citizens have to engage each other in discussion in order to determine the structure and goals of society, is connected to the rational ideal of a public sphere where conflicting views can be expressed, formed, and transformed. But hasn’t the collective decision making in which everyone participates on an equal footing turned out to be a deceptive ideal or a simple illusion? Not every individual in society has equal access to the podium. Furthermore, power, being an inevitable feature of the public sphere, seems to permanently endanger its democratic value. Moreover, the existence of this sphere depends on a specific ethos and particular public spaces where citizens are called upon to present themselves as citizens, as people taking responsibility for their society. It is not clear whether this ethos and these spaces exist at all, and if so, if they preserved their ascribed capacity for constituting ‘democratic’ truth? By answering these questions we expect to deepen our understanding of the relation between truth and democracy.

Democratic Reason

Author: Hélène Landemore
Publisher: Princeton University Press
ISBN: 0691155658
Size: 31.92 MB
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Individual decision making can often be wrong due to misinformation, impulses, or biases. Collective decision making, on the other hand, can be surprisingly accurate. In Democratic Reason, Hélène Landemore demonstrates that the very factors behind the superiority of collective decision making add up to a strong case for democracy. She shows that the processes and procedures of democratic decision making form a cognitive system that ensures that decisions taken by the many are more likely to be right than decisions taken by the few. Democracy as a form of government is therefore valuable not only because it is legitimate and just, but also because it is smart. Landemore considers how the argument plays out with respect to two main mechanisms of democratic politics: inclusive deliberation and majority rule. In deliberative settings, the truth-tracking properties of deliberation are enhanced more by inclusiveness than by individual competence. Landemore explores this idea in the contexts of representative democracy and the selection of representatives. She also discusses several models for the "wisdom of crowds" channeled by majority rule, examining the trade-offs between inclusiveness and individual competence in voting. When inclusive deliberation and majority rule are combined, they beat less inclusive methods, in which one person or a small group decide. Democratic Reason thus establishes the superiority of democracy as a way of making decisions for the common good.

Truth And Democracy

Author: Jeremy Elkins
Publisher: University of Pennsylvania Press
ISBN: 0812206223
Size: 18.97 MB
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Political theorists Jeremy Elkins and Andrew Norris observe that American political culture is deeply ambivalent about truth. On the one hand, voices on both the left and right make confident appeals to the truth of claims about the status of the market in public life and the role of scientific evidence and argument in public life, human rights, and even religion. On the other hand, there is considerable anxiety that such appeals threaten individualism and political plurality. This anxiety, Elkins and Norris contend, has perhaps been greatest in the humanities and in political theory, where many have responded by either rejecting or neglecting the whole topic of truth. The essays in this volume question whether democratic politics requires discussion of truth and, if so, how truth should matter to democratic politics. While individual essays approach the subject from different angles, the volume as a whole suggests that the character of our politics depends in part on what kinds of truthful inquiries it promotes and how it deals with various kinds of disputes about truth. The contributors to the volume, including prominent political and legal theorists, philosophers, and intellectual historians, argue that these are important political and not merely theoretical questions.

The People Vs Democracy

Author: Yascha Mounk
Publisher: Harvard University Press
ISBN: 0674976827
Size: 13.54 MB
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From India to Turkey, from Poland to the United States, authoritarian populists have seized power. Two core components of liberal democracy--individual rights and the popular will--are at war, putting democracy itself at risk. In plain language, Yascha Mounk describes how we got here, where we need to go, and why there is little time left to waste.