1st Edition

Democratic Theory as Public Philosophy The Alternative to Ideology and Utopia

By Norman Wintrop Copyright 2017
    304 Pages
    by Routledge

    This title was first published in 2000:  This text contends that there are pronounced ideological (apologetic) and utopian biases in how democracy is now viewed by most academic writers, politicians and journalists. Ideological biases result from democracy being seen in formal and procedural ways as parliaments, free elections and competitive parties and pressure groups - irrespective of the standards which guide or the effects produced by these procedures. Utopian democrats reject this narrow empiricism for normative approaches and, instead of realistic norms, they offer impractical, perfectionist and counter-productive standards and goals. As the alternative to ideology and utopia, the author builds upon and draws conclusions from a realistic and normative, public philosophic tradition of writing on democratic politics. This tradition is explained and illustrated by critical responses to Walter Lippman's conception of public philosophy, Lippman's activity as a public philosopher, and the work of major democratic theorists from Alexis de Tocqueville to Giovanni Sartori.

    Part 1 Democratic theory as ideology and utopia: formalism in democratic theory - democracy as political procedures-- formalism in democratic theory - democracy as integrated elites-- formalism in democratic theory - Robert Dahl and democracy as political and social pluralism-- utopianism and the utopian challenge to democratic theory. Part 2 Democratic theory as public philosophy: Walter Lippman's call for and contribution to a public philosophy-- democratic theory as public philosophy - its 19th-century foundations-- the last of the new liberals, and analytic-philosophic public philosophers-- 20th-century natural-law, Augustinian-Realist and democratic-elite theory public philosophers. Part 3 Functions of democratic theory as public philosophy-- does history end with liberal democracy and, if so, what type?-- democratic theory as public philosophy - problems and prospects.