The Non-Instrumental Value of Democracy: The Freedom Argument

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A current debate in democratic theory concerns whether we can explain democratic legitimacy purely with reference to the intrinsic value of the public affirmation of equality, or whether we must invoke extra-democratic epistemic standards to do so. The freedom side of democracy is ignored or even rejected in this debate. But in order to understand the intrinsic value of democracy, we cannot ignore the relationship between freedom and democracy. Moreover, the freedom argument can better respond to the epistemic challenge to intrinsic accounts than can the equality argument. However, the freedom argument for democracy must be refined to avoid important objections to the idea that democracy can make citizens self-governing. The proposed freedom argument is based on notions of autonomy and freedom that have their root in the relational norm of not having another person as a master.
Original languageEnglish
JournalConstellations: an international journal of critical and democratic theory
Issue number2
Pages (from-to)267-278
Number of pages12
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2015

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