A comparative discussion and analysis of two rival conceptions of the grounds for adopting democracy as a system of government: the moral conception and the pragmatic conception. Questions for both conceptions will be raised and debated. Is democracy, together with all the practices associated with it, such as tolerance, pluralism, etc., of value in and of itself, and thus a moral choice of sorts (first conception)? Or is democracy, with all the practices associated with it, a matter of practical calculation of interests and utilities (public and private), so that viewing democracy as a value is consequent upon viewing it in terms of interests (second conception)? The course will seek to place the different answers in different philosophical and ideological perspectives in a way that will encourage students to arrive at well-reasoned positions about the motivations that lie behind the choice of democracy as a political system.
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