Towards a Democracy-Centred Ethics

Forthcoming, Special Issue of Critical Review of Social and Political Philosophy, eds. Kaspar Lippert-Rasmussen and Theresa Scavinius.

25 Pages Posted: 8 Feb 2017

See all articles by Annabelle Lever

Annabelle Lever

University of Geneva - Department of Political Science and International Relations

Date Written: July 24, 2016

Abstract

The core idea of this paper is that we can use the differences between democratic and undemocratic governments to illuminate ethical problems, particularly in the area of political philosophy. Democratic values, rights and institutions lie between the most abstract considerations of ethics and meta-ethics and the most particularised decisions, outcomes and contexts. Hence, this paper argues, we can use the differences between democratic and undemocratic governments, as we best understand them, to structure our theoretical investigations, to test and organise our intuitions and ideas, and to explain and justify our philosophical conclusions in ways analogous to the distinction between consequentialist and deontological theories in moral philosophy, or between liberal and republican principles in political philosophy. In this way – or so I will argue – we can interpret and evaluate competing philosophical claims so that they are morally and politically attractive, as well as logically consistent. Specifically, as we will see, a democracy-centred approach to ethics can help us to distinguish liberal and democratic approaches to political morality in ways that reflect the varieties of democratic theory, and the importance of distinguishing democratic from undemocratic forms of liberalism.

Keywords: democratic, undemocratic, liberal, republican, constitutionalism, ethics, rights, duties, permissions, Waldron, Christiano, Joshua Cohen, Shklar, outing, privacy, equality, marriage

Suggested Citation

Lever, Annabelle, Towards a Democracy-Centred Ethics (July 24, 2016). Forthcoming, Special Issue of Critical Review of Social and Political Philosophy, eds. Kaspar Lippert-Rasmussen and Theresa Scavinius. . Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2813846

Annabelle Lever (Contact Author)

University of Geneva - Department of Political Science and International Relations ( email )

40 Boulevard du Pont D'Arve
Geneva, Geneve CH 1207
Switzerland

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