Article

Democratic Theory

David Estlund

in The Oxford Handbook of Contemporary Philosophy

Published in print November 2007 | ISBN: 9780199234769
Published online September 2009 | | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/oxfordhb/9780199234769.003.0008

Series: OXFORD HANDBOOKS IN PHILOSOPHY

 Democratic Theory

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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

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