DEMOCRACY AS A UNIVERSAL VALUE
Amartya Sen <ul><li>Master of Trinity College, Cambridge, </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Holds many visiting professorial chairs in...
Democracy’s Preeminence <ul><li>In the 20 th  Century, democracy has emerged as the preeminent form of governance. </li></...
Democracy’s Preeminence <ul><li>There has arisen the recognition that democracy is a means to an end and not an end in its...
<ul><li>Democracy is of value in and of itself. </li></ul><ul><li>The liberties that accompany democratic rule are consist...
<ul><li>Democracy itself is a means to human ends. </li></ul><ul><li>It allows people to express and support their claims ...
<ul><li>Democracy can be an extension of the human will. </li></ul><ul><li>It lets people thresh out differences and deter...
Moral Arguments? <ul><li>Clearly, there is plenty validity in the numerous criticism haled against democracy. </li></ul><u...
The Point <ul><li>Although “moral arguments” are intangible, they are valuable. </li></ul><ul><li>The debate on whether de...
The Point  <ul><li>The debate over democracy must be resolved  on the level of philosophy </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Because en...
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Democracy as a Universal Value

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Slides regarding Democracy as a Universal Value (Amartya Sen) for an undergraduate course in Political Thought that I taught between 2003-2005.

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  • Learning Objectives: 1.) To impart an appreciation of democracy as a universal value (and an understanding of what a universal value is supposed to mean). 2.) To become acquainted with the intrinsic, instrumental and constructive functions of democracy.
  • Democracy as a Universal Value

    1. 1. DEMOCRACY AS A UNIVERSAL VALUE
    2. 2. Amartya Sen <ul><li>Master of Trinity College, Cambridge, </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Holds many visiting professorial chairs in numerous prestigious universities </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Nobel Laureate (Economics) in 1998 for his work on “welfare economics” </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Normative and prescriptive branch of economics meant to promote human welfare. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Described as a philosopher-economist </li></ul>
    3. 3. Democracy’s Preeminence <ul><li>In the 20 th Century, democracy has emerged as the preeminent form of governance. </li></ul><ul><li>By this we mean that people have come to see democracy as a universal commitment. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>i.e. that it is a form of government to which everyone is entitled </li></ul></ul>
    4. 4. Democracy’s Preeminence <ul><li>There has arisen the recognition that democracy is a means to an end and not an end in itself. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>i.e. that countries become “fit through democracy” </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Although there are many challenges to this perspective, it is clear that we have reason to value democracy because of its different functions . </li></ul>
    5. 5. <ul><li>Democracy is of value in and of itself. </li></ul><ul><li>The liberties that accompany democratic rule are consistent with human freedom and human nature in general. </li></ul><ul><li>As such, democracy is proper to human beings. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>The absence of democracy is a grave privation for individuals. </li></ul></ul>Intrinsic Value
    6. 6. <ul><li>Democracy itself is a means to human ends. </li></ul><ul><li>It allows people to express and support their claims to political attention. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>It has an enabling quality . </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Precisely, it enables people to express their needs and concerns to government. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>These needs are not limited to economic needs, encompassing all human needs. </li></ul></ul>Instrumental Value
    7. 7. <ul><li>Democracy can be an extension of the human will. </li></ul><ul><li>It lets people thresh out differences and determine society’s priorities. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>It has an empowering quality . </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Precisely, democracy empowers individuals to participate in and give direction to social developments. </li></ul></ul>Constructive Value
    8. 8. Moral Arguments? <ul><li>Clearly, there is plenty validity in the numerous criticism haled against democracy. </li></ul><ul><li>Admittedly, to argue in favor of democracy’s preeminence seems to amount to proselytizing on the basis of moral arguments. </li></ul><ul><li>Shouldn’t there be empirical evidence of democracy’s preeminence? </li></ul>
    9. 9. The Point <ul><li>Although “moral arguments” are intangible, they are valuable. </li></ul><ul><li>The debate on whether democracy is… </li></ul><ul><ul><li>…good or bad… </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>…perfect or imperfect… </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>…the best or the worst form of government… </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>… cannot be resolved on the basis of pragmatism or expedience . </li></ul></ul>
    10. 10. The Point <ul><li>The debate over democracy must be resolved on the level of philosophy </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Because ends do not justify means. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Because we must distinguish between form and substance. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Because we must differentiate democracy as an ideal from how it is put to practice. </li></ul></ul>

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