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The question is how much well-informed citizens need to be to exercise their democratic rights. The answer depends on theories of democracy. The duty of citizens to be well-informed can be very demanding or not demanding at all. Some theories even require moral duty not to vote. I explain these three views in the following. J.S. Mill's theory can be argued ...


7

I don't think there's any one answer that all will accept on this question, but to simplify the sorting process for you, the real question you are asking is: "What is a state?" and then within this specifically the question of how such a state relates to its members. In terms of philosophical theories of the state (in this case the polis), the earliest two ...


6

The question is what does the following sentence from John Dewey's Democracy and Eduction mean: Education is the laboratory in which philosophic distinctions become concrete and are tested. In that same paragraph Dewey warns that students of philosophy may see philosophy as relevant to philosophers alone: The student of philosophy "in itself" is ...


5

Contrary to Jobermark, I believe Kant provides a very straightforward answer to your dilemma. Kant's based his categorical imperative on one question "Is it universalizable?", and in your case the clear answer is vote for what you think is right for everybody (presumably in your case that is party B, since it would help more people than party A). Here's why: ...


5

Foucault's own thoughts for or against things that he writes about, are often difficult to unravel. His first goal in writing is to allow us as readers to see something clearly which at first is not particularly clear. For example with the recent publication of his lectures, particularly, "Society Must be Defended", "Security, Territory, Population", "The ...


5

Both democracy (in its purer forms) as well as populism are ideologies involving a rule of the people by the people or representatives chosen/ selected by the people. Democracy focuses more on the assignment of governance to the people regardless of class Populism focuses more on the struggle between the common class and the elite class Populism also lends ...


5

With Kantian point of view, we can say "Not voting is not universilizable", because if no-one voted, then the elections would not work and that would be a contradiction to the system itself. Then, not voting is not an ethical behaviour, unless you want the system to fall.


4

Voters have social reasons to vote. Depending on the country, these may be unambiguously rational as well. For instance, in Australia voting is mandatory and voting day is a national holiday. If you are already forced to vote, you may as well actually vote in your interest instead of against your interest or randomly. There can still be social reasons ...


4

Your intuition that the core of democracy is an unspoken, unwritten, un-examined social contract is mostly right. While there are non social contract theories, e.g., instrumental (or utilitarian) arguments for democracy, many scholarly arguments for democracy are guided by the social contract intuition. But there are many written, examined works. Rousseau, ...


4

Socrates preached to the Athenian young that those with governing power should have the knowledge of the Good. To him, a person obtains this knowledge when she realizes that this world is merely a shadow of the real world. The cave fable of Plato illustrate this idea. This view of Socrates is called philosopher kingship. Plato's republic and Aristotle's ...


4

The paint color metaphor was used a while ago during Brexit debates, when "sources" suggested that indicative votes "will leave us with an Auf Wiedersehen, Pet Brexit'". Auf Wiedersehen, Pet is an old TV show about seven British construction workers. In one of the episodes they pick a color to paint their shed by making lists of preferences. The winner is ...


3

The book Analyzing Congress (by MIT Professor Charles Stewart) has an excellent section on the "equivalency" of different policies and the effect on voting. I would summarize it as: If we're only talking about a one-dimensional policy (say, tax-rate between 0% and 100%), then there is a single, optimal solution that the electorate can reach consensus on. ...


3

I don't know philosophers who've argued that democracy is inherently flawed, and I think such an argument would be naive (given the right population with a right culture, democracy might be good), but Alexander Guerrero is spearheading a sophisticated proposal he calls lottocracy (see sortition). You can read his own popular summary here, while a paper on ...


3

Here's an attempt at a rationalisation of voting for the individual: 1 If you choose not to vote once, you are significantly more likely to choose not to vote again. After all, you're unusual if you're in a western democracy and you are not at all disillusioned with politics and have nothing more enjoyable to do on polling day with your time. Summary: ...


3

This is actually quite an interesting problem, unique to the modern problem of representative democracy itself. First, modern democratic societies generally hold individual subjects (and their individual "souls") morally and legally accountable. We rule out collective accountability of families, generations, races, as were common in premodern societies. ...


3

It is an interesting distinction, because they are in some ways related but in some cases can be opposite. As one example, Venezuela's President Chavez was considered "populist," but not many people would consider the government democratic. (See, e.g, this article, or searching for "Venezuela populism" on Google). As another example, consider the Roman ...


3

'Fascism' has largely degenerated into a term of abuse but if we look at the meaning of 'fascism' as it characterised the original fascist movements - Italy from the 1920s, Portugal and Spain from the 1930s - its four main features were (1) the totalitarian state, (2) the leadership principle, (3) nationalism, and (4) opposition to communism. Separately or ...


3

The full paragraph containing the quote in question from Chapter 10 of Democracy and Education by John Dewey follows: This state of affairs explains many things in our historic educational traditions. It throws light upon the clash of aims manifested in different portions of the school system; the narrowly utilitarian character of most elementary ...


3

I believe Socrates and/or Plato believed that Greece should be led by a "philosopher king." I argue that Plato believed democratic governance to be erratic and dysfunctional and that the democratic ruler is led by unnecessary appetites and passions. Plato and Machiavelli on Democracy Jean Paul-Sartre was a huge fan of Che Guevara and the Cuban ...


2

I'd understand this as the formation of a state, in the same vein as Hobbes Leviathan, and Rousseaus theory of the General Will in social contract theory. Hobbes argues for an absolute sovereign and state (this is the Leviathan), whereas Roussea argues for a more egalitarian possibility; notably Rousseau was writing during the French Revolution when pure ...


2

I recall growing up in a Britain which had nationalised rail, telephone, gas and electricity. I also recall reading somewhere that Roosevelts America viewed from where we are today would be seen as a socialist state. In neither of these two situations did the franchise contract. Given this empirical evidence, it doesn't seem particularly self-evident to ...


2

I think there is an assumption here that any socialist aspects in society will automatically lead to a reach for socialist aspects everywhere in society. That assumption is an interesting point to argue, but I'm not confident it's self-evident enough to make it an assumption. It is possible to have a socialist government that identifies that the "best" way ...


2

One theoretical framework which may dissolve your question into something that is easier to answer is the idea that, for an individual, it is irrational to vote with the expectation that one can change the outcome. Suppose, for the time being that you do somehow know that the policies of Party A are better for your business. Your chances of actually brining ...


2

very interesting question. If you want to show that democracy is inherently flawed you first have to ask yourself what is inherently democracy. That is a pure logical issue. Your objective is to "axiomatise" democracy i.e. find what are its axioms. You mention the existence of an opposition. I am not so sure this is an axiom per se. For example as ...


2

An idea from ethics, called the veil of ignorance, is that you should suspend your knowledge of your own situation and consider that you may be any random person in your society. What society would you prefer then? Then, if you are to be an ethical person, you should want the same even while remembering your own situation. You can see especially clearly ...


2

More generally, we should start by determining what we mean by "democracy". In my view, there are two very different meanings for this word, which are often confused, and even strawmaned against each other. First, "democracy" is a method for decision taking. The method is simple, though its application may be problematic. The steps are, ...


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