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Democracy (Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy)

Democracy (Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy) - Democr...

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8/30/13 Democracy (Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy) plato.stanford.edu/entries/democracy/ 1/28 Open access to the SEP is made possible by a world-wide funding initiative. Please Read How You Can Help Keep the Encyclopedia Free Democracy First published Thu Jul 27, 2006 Normative democratic theory deals with the moral foundations of democracy and democratic institutions. It is distinct from descriptive and explanatory democratic theory. It does not offer in the first instance a scientific study of those societies that are called democratic. It aims to provide an account of when and why democracy is morally desirable as well as moral principles for guiding the design of democratic institutions. Of course, normative democratic theory is inherently interdisciplinary and must call on the results of political science, sociology and economics in order to give this kind of concrete guidance. This brief outline of normative democratic theory focuses attention on four distinct issues in recent work. First, it outlines some different approaches to the question of why democracy is morally desirable at all. Second, it explores the question of what it is reasonable to expect from citizens in large democratic societies. This issue is central to the evaluation of normative democratic theories as we will see. A large body of opinion has it that most classical normative democratic theory is incompatible with what we can reasonably expect from citizens. It also discusses blueprints of democratic institutions for dealing with issues that arise from a conception of citizenship. Third, it surveys different accounts of the proper characterization of equality in the processes of representation. These last two parts display the interdisciplinary nature of normative democratic theory. Fourth, it discusses the issue of whether and when democratic institutions have authority and it discusses different conceptions of the limits of democratic authority. 1. Democracy Defined 2. The Justification of Democracy 2.1 Instrumentalism 2.2 Non-instrumental Values 3. The Problem of Democratic Citizenship 3.1 Some Solutions Offered for the Problem of Democratic Citizenship 3.2 The Self-Interest Assumption 3.3 The Role of Citizenship as Choosers of Aims 4. Legislative Representation
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8/30/13 Democracy (Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy) plato.stanford.edu/entries/democracy/ 2/28 5. The Authority of Democracy 5.1 Instrumentalist Conceptions of Democratic Authority 5.2 Democratic Consent Theories of Authority 5.3 Limits to the Authority of Democracy Bibliography Other Internet Resources Related Entries 1. Democracy Defined To fix ideas, the term “democracy,” as I will use it in this article, refers very generally to a method of group decision making characterized by a kind of equality among the participants at an essential stage of the collective decision making. Four aspects of this definition should be noted. First, democracy concerns collective decision making,
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