Democratic Theory

David Estlund

in The Oxford Handbook of Contemporary Philosophy

Published in print November 2007 | ISBN: 9780199234769
Published online September 2009 | | DOI:


 Democratic Theory

More Like This

Show all results sharing these subjects:

  • Philosophy
  • Social and Political Philosophy


Show Summary Details


One of the fundamental philosophical issues in democratic theory is how important it is that political decisions are good decisions, and how important it is that they be made by good or appropriate procedures. The issue is interesting because these criteria can conflict. In principle, the procedure that would make the best decisions could be utterly elitist or authoritarian. This article leaves aside the aspects of democratic theory that revolve around empirical results and rational choice theorems. Nor does it attempt a survey of issues in democratic theory. It aims to concentrate on a very basic philosophical issue on which much recent normative democratic theory depends. Careful attention to this issue is one of the most effective keys for unlocking the philosophical dimensions of competing theories of the value of democracy.

Keywords: democratic theory; political decisions; rational choice theorems; normative democratic theory; value of democracy

Article.  10538 words. 

Subjects: Philosophy ; Social and Political Philosophy

Full text: subscription required

How to subscribe Recommend to my Librarian

Buy this work at Oxford University Press »

Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content. Please, subscribe or login to access all content.