The Socratic Citizen

The Socratic Citizen : A Theory of Deliberative Democracy

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In 399 BC Socrates, the father of political philosophy, was put to death by the world's first democracy. Ever since, defenders of democracy have attempted to show that the central tension symbolized by that event-between philosophical truth, embodied by Socrates, and democratic whim-could be contained. In The Socratic Citizen, Adolf G. Gundersen addresses this tension in a new way, by recasting Socrates as a model for the democratic citizen. Gundersen asserts that political deliberation is best thought of as a two-person affair, or a dyad. He proposes this dyadic theory as an intriguing alternative to the present American system, where interest groups define the debate and the average citizen is reduced to simply agreeing or disagreeing with these manufactured positions. A powerful reclamation of everyday conversation as an integral form of political discourse, The Socratic Citizen is an original contribution to political philosophy.
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Product details

  • Paperback | 352 pages
  • 148 x 227 x 17mm | 454g
  • Lanham, MD, United States
  • English
  • bibliography, index
  • 0739101919
  • 9780739101919

Table of contents

Chapter 1 Introduction: The Problem Chapter 2 Philosophy v. Democracy: Three Positions Part 3 Democratizing Rationality: A Theory of Substantive Political Rationality Chapter 4 Rational Democracy: A Dyadic Model of Deliberation Chapter 5 Rationality, Freedom, and Democracy Part 6 The Empirical Case for Socratic Democracy Chapter 7 Cultural Realities Chapter 8 Cognitive Realities Chapter 9 Affective Realities Part 10 The Speculative Case for Socratic Democracy Chapter 11 Socratic Democracy's Real Potential Chapter 12 From Potential to Actual: Institutional Design Principles Chapter 13 The Practical Limits of Socrativ Democracy Chapter 14 Conclusion: Integrating the Prescriptive, Empirical, and Speculative Chapter 15 The Socratic Theory of Democracy: A Summary and Restatement
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Review quote

Gundersen joins a number of theorists who have in recent years argued for the centrality of deliberative procedures in healthy democratic politics. [This book] has the potential of contributing some provocative ideas to an area of current interest in political theory. -- Thomas A. Spragens Jr., Duke University
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About Adolf G. Gundersen

Adolf G. Gundersen is the author of The Environmental Promise of Democratic Deliberation (1995) and coeditor of Political Theory and Partisan Politics (with Edward B. Portis and Ruth Lessl Shively, 2000).
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