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What Is Democracy (and What Is Its Raison D'Etre)?

Goldman, Alvin

Description

This article aims to say what democracy is or what the predicate ‘democratic’ means, as opposed to saying what is good, right, or desirable about it. The basic idea—by no means a novel one—is that a democratic system is one that features substantial equality of political power. More distinctively it is argued that ‘democratic’ is a relative gradable adjective, the use of which permits different, contextually determined thresholds of democraticness. Thus, a system can be...[Show more]

dc.contributor.authorGoldman, Alvin
dc.date.accessioned2016-02-24T22:42:05Z
dc.identifier.issn2053-4477
dc.identifier.urihttp://hdl.handle.net/1885/98937
dc.description.abstractThis article aims to say what democracy is or what the predicate ‘democratic’ means, as opposed to saying what is good, right, or desirable about it. The basic idea—by no means a novel one—is that a democratic system is one that features substantial equality of political power. More distinctively it is argued that ‘democratic’ is a relative gradable adjective, the use of which permits different, contextually determined thresholds of democraticness. Thus, a system can be correctly called ‘democratic’ even if it does not feature perfect equality of power. The article’s central undertaking is to give greater precision to the operative notion(s) of power. No complete or fully unified measure of power is offered, but several conceptual tools are introduced that help give suitable content to power measurement. These tools include distinctions between conditional versus unconditional power and direct versus indirect power. Using such tools, a variety of prima facie problems for the power equality approach are addressed and defused. Finally, the theory is compared to epistemic and deliberative approaches to democracy; and reasons are offered for the attractiveness of democracy that flows from the power equality theme
dc.publisherCambridge Journals
dc.sourceJournal of American Philosophical Association
dc.titleWhat Is Democracy (and What Is Its Raison D'Etre)?
dc.typeJournal article
local.description.notesImported from ARIES
local.identifier.citationvolume1
dc.date.issued2015
local.identifier.absfor220300 - PHILOSOPHY
local.identifier.ariespublicationu4930689xPUB5
local.type.statusPublished Version
local.contributor.affiliationGoldman, Alvin, College of Arts and Social Sciences, ANU
local.bibliographicCitation.issue2
local.bibliographicCitation.startpage233
local.bibliographicCitation.lastpage256
local.identifier.doi10.1017/apa.2014.30
local.identifier.absseo970122 - Expanding Knowledge in Philosophy and Religious Studies
dc.date.updated2016-02-24T11:26:36Z
CollectionsANU Research Publications

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