How to Justify 'Militant Democracy': Meta-Ethics and the Game-Like Character of Democracy

Philosophy and Social Criticism (2015, Forthcoming)

26 Pages Posted: 14 Oct 2013 Last revised: 8 Aug 2015

See all articles by Miodrag Jovanovic

Miodrag Jovanovic

University of Belgrade - Faculty of Law

Date Written: October 14, 2013


Decisions in democracy are binding not in virtue of being true or good, but on account of being an outcome of the majority voting procedure. For some, this is a proof of an intricate connection between democracy and moral relativism. “Militant democracy” model, on the other hand, is premised on the idea that certain political actors and choices have to be banned for being fatally bad for democracy. This gives rise to the claim that protected democratic fundamental values of freedom and equality enjoy the status of absolute moral standards. This paper dismisses the intuition that justification of “militant democracy” depends on unpacking the relation between democracy and meta-ethics. Instead, following Bernard Suits’ analytical exposition of the important features of games, it demonstrates, first, how democracy is like a game, and, then, it argues that a plausible justification of “militant democracy” stems from its game-like character.

Keywords: democracy, moral relativism, moral absolutism, militant democracy, game

Suggested Citation

Jovanovic, Miodrag, How to Justify 'Militant Democracy': Meta-Ethics and the Game-Like Character of Democracy (October 14, 2013). Philosophy and Social Criticism (2015, Forthcoming), Available at SSRN: or

Miodrag Jovanovic (Contact Author)

University of Belgrade - Faculty of Law ( email )

Bulevar Kralja Aleksandra 67
Belgrade, 11000

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