Democracy [addendum] - Research Article from Encyclopedia of Philosophy

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Presuppositions of Democracy

For a democracy to be realized in any context, the community to be governed must self-consciously recognize itself as such, those entitled to participate in its government must be identified as citizens or members, and the extent of the community's concerns, both geographical and theoretical, must be at least roughly agreed upon. In short, democracy presupposes community.

Democratic government is possible only if members of the community can participate in decision making. They must be able to communicate effectively and to grasp the relations of means to ends. Participating citizens will not always be rational, of course, but at a minimum, democracy presupposes that members of the community have a capacity for rationality.

Instruments of Democracy

Democracies with many members must devise systems by which those members can reasonably effect their wills. All cannot speak; therefore some must speak and act for others. There are...

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This section contains 1,787 words
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Democracy [addendum] from Encyclopedia of Philosophy. Copyright © 2001-2006 by Macmillan Reference USA, an imprint of the Gale Group. All rights reserved.