Democracy Defended (Contemporary Political Theory)

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Protest, Resistance, and Radical Democratic Thought in the Early American Republic

An alternative account holds that the interests of animals ought to be taken into account because they have a democratic right that their interests are considered. This alternative account is defended in this article by utilising democratic theory and, in particular, the all-affected principle.

Jason Frank

The interests of animals are affected by collective decisions and, therefore, they, or — more specifically — their representatives, have a democratic right to have some say in the making of those decisions. This approach is favourably contrasted with an alternative, citizenship, account which relies on contested, capacity-oriented, claims current within the field of animal ethics. Published Articles, Dept.

Contemporary Political theory 3. I make my predictions for the future as both a junior member of such a political community and a participant in the comparative study of political science departments that takes place at professional conferences and through the social practice of gossip. But I also make these predictions as an invitation for those more skilled at observing and more experienced in living in such societies to offer their own insights in response or in refutation.

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By this prediction I do not only mean the general prediction that the world will still include individuals who will think and write about politics, whether they do so in the columns of flagship newspapers and political magazines or in the margins of mainstream politics. I intend to make the specific prediction that political theorists will continue to find their home in large numbers in political science departments, where they will continue to have mutually beneficial if occasionally challenging interactions with more empirically oriented political scientists.

While the placement of political theorists within political science departments is a contingent phenomenon of developing disciplinary boundaries within American universities during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, I want to argue that this accident could be justified on principle. Given the methods applied by canonical political theorists in their search for a normative science of politics, our subfield has always relied on both philosophical reasoning and empirical evidence about the comparative development of political institutions and societies.

In our striving for both theories of justice, democracy, and liberalism as well as action-guiding principles for the imperfect world of politics, we deploy a variety of methods appropriate for the merely probabilistic precision allowed by political matters. For the political societies of political scientists and political theorists to continue to flourish in the twenty-first century, I see two complementary trends that I expect will lead to a more peaceful cohabitation at least a modus vivendi if not an overlapping consensus.

I intend these predictions as both empirical claims about current and future developments in the field and as normative claims about how empiricists and theorists should respond to these changes. The twenty-first century has already witnessed significant developments in three areas of empirical political science: 1 data collection; 2 technology for analyzing large data; and 3 methods for analyzing data the identification revolution.

All three of these developments, which I briefly address in turn, have dramatically improved the technical possibilities for empirical research in political science. As a result, normative debates about which aspects of politics are important to measure and analyze will become more important aspects of the empirical work done by our colleagues. The past decade alone has witnessed a proliferation of new data sources from a variety of governmental and private sources.

At the macrolevel, the available measures of GDP and political regime types Polity IV, Freedom House, and others have been supplemented by a variety of macrolevel indicators about literacy, education, health, inequality, well-being, and other quality of life measures many of these are included in the Human Development Index. These are supplemented by increasingly precise measures of quality of political institutions, including measures of corruption, transparency, clientelism, electoral competition, political polarization, and economic, political, and civil liberties.

At the state level, more governments have improved their data collection and reporting, and nongovernmental organizations have become more adept at independently verifying the data released by governments, especially through representative surveys of the population and other tools for the independent verification of local data collection agencies.

As the survey and reporting technology improves, political scientists will have more and more detailed information available to study politics at the local, national, and international level.

As their empirical tools are becoming increasingly sophisticated, political scientists are able to refine the concepts they are aiming to empirically measure, such as democracy, education, liberalism, polarization, or equality of opportunity. As better information becomes available in larger quantities, the increase in data analysis capacity has proceeded apace.

While political science is not generally dealing with the petabytes of data currently used in other fields, increasingly fine-grained, individual-level information that fluctuates through time is starting to be available to survey voter behavior online. Finally, the identification revolution combined with methodological refinements coming out of statistics, economics, and other social and natural sciences has allowed political scientists to become increasingly precise in the type of causal claims and predictions that they can make. Among the methodological innovations that can allow for fruitful collaboration between empirical and normative political scientists are historical discontinuity research designs through which political scientists can use unexpected historical junctions as natural experiments to disentangle a variety of causal mechanisms.

With their unique focus on conceptual analysis, theory building, and investigation of fundamentals, political theorists will be increasingly necessary to the field as it tries to understand topics of growing global importance: authoritarian politics, illiberal democracies, the future of capitalism, and environmental politics.

In one of his lesser read pedagogical essays called Some Thoughts Concerning Reading and Study for a Gentleman , Locke divided politics into two distinct parts.

For this study, Locke recommends the treatises of Hooker, Sydney, and Pufendorf, as well as his own anonymous Two Treatises of Government. We might be tempted to read Locke as identifying a natural division of labor between political theorists and political scientists , between those of us concerned with philosophically deducing how the world should be and those concerned with empirically explaining and describing how the world actually is.

I would argue against this interpretative choice.

Political Theory and Loss

Even if political theory is primarily about the type of work Locke undertakes in his Two Treatises , his analysis of what governments should do depended on his extensive research into legal and political history, anthropology, and comparative politics. To derive his conclusions about what should be, he closely studied what has been and what can be. The development of academic political science has offered political theorists a wealth of new studies of political institutions and political behavior, not only in the American context, but cross-culturally and across different historical periods.

Their unique concern with both the noumenal world of reason, truth, and justice and the phenomenal world of politics has always posed unique challenges. Whether they were concerned with the search for the very best political institutions, such as Plato, or with the bare minimum to avoid political conflict, such as Hobbes, political theorists have always built upon the research undertaken in other fields. These have included fields as varied as economics Marx and musicology Plato , mathematics Descartes and anthropology Locke , psychology Freud and botany Rousseau , history Guizot and law Grotius.

Unfortunately, the presentation of these findings in terms of statistical results and mathematical proofs has led to reduced cross-subfield interactions of political scientists. Along with the identification revolution and the increasing methodological sophistication of political scientists, however, I predict that the presentation of empirical analysis will also become more visually, analytically, and conceptually sophisticated. The growth of visualization technology speaks to the potential for presenting empirical research to nonempirical scientists.

The normative political theorists can drive this process by increasingly demanding, citing, and incorporating the findings of political scientists. Over time, I predict that specialized training for theorists interested in interpreting empirical data will become more easily available. One of the advantages of political theorists engaging more closely with political science is the potential it holds for research in comparative political theory.

Our colleagues in comparative politics have produced extensive studies of political societies in Asia, the Middle East, and Latin America that political theorists promoting cross-cultural normative inquiry in Chinese, Indian, Islamic, or Latin American political thought can benefit from.

Melvin Rogers | Brown University -

Another normative advantage would be the return of normative political theory to the issues being addressed by scholars working in political economy, particularly economic and political inequality, income redistribution, and the provision of public services. A more empirically grounded normative science of politics would be able to complement the work of these scholars to consider how much inequality political societies should tolerate and which public services should be provided as a matter of justice.

Political theory is written by perfectionists. But human beings, even if perfectible , are not capable of perfection. Nicomachean Ethics. Translated by C. Foucault, Michel. Translated by David Macey.

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Picador, NY: St. Translated by Andrew R. Scoble, introduction by Aurelian Craiutu. Indianapolis, IN: Liberty Fund. Hobbes, Thomas. Edited by Richard Tuck. Kant, Immanuel. Reiss, 41—

Democracy Defended (Contemporary Political Theory) Democracy Defended (Contemporary Political Theory)
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Democracy Defended (Contemporary Political Theory) Democracy Defended (Contemporary Political Theory)
Democracy Defended (Contemporary Political Theory) Democracy Defended (Contemporary Political Theory)
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