Democratic Theory

Name: Matthew Berry
Section: Ancient & Medieval Political Philosophy
Professional Email: berryme@bc.edu
Professional Status: Associate Professor
Institution: Boston College
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Paper Title: Democracy's Dignity and Aristotelian Political Justice
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Contemporary scholars have argued that the fundamental values of liberal democracy--liberty and equality--are insufficient. Some have proposed to add a third fundamental value--dignity--in order to regulate the other two. I argue that dignity fails to bear the weight such scholars would place on it. I urge instead a new articulation of Aristotle's conception of political justice as a standard that secures not only liberty and equality, but their preconditions.


Name: Joshua Cherniss
Section: Democratic Theory
Professional Email: jlc306@georgetown.edu
Professional Status: Assistant Professor
Institution: Georgetown University
Scheduling Preference: Friday Afternoon
Proposal Type: Paper
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Paper Title: Between Resistance and Democracy: Adam Michnik on the Ethical Complexities of Political Transition
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This paper examines the Polish dissident-turned-journalist and public intellectual Adam Michnik's response to the transition – which he did much to effect – from Communism to democracy in Poland. I reconstruct Michnik's arguments and the theoretical reflection behind them, and mine his public action for the theoretical insights it yields, in identifying the ethical and political challenges of moving from authoritarian government to democracy in a deeply wounded and divided society. Like other opponents of the Communist regime, Michnik had to learn the ropes of democratic politics, adjust to a new set of moral demands and standards which differed from those of dissident life (with its relative moral simplicity and emphasis on personal integrity and fidelity to ideals), and grapple with disappointment, bitterness, and desire for revenge. In the process, he articulated a moving and perceptive account of the challenges, emotional difficulties and disappointments, and ethical demands of democratic life – and, particularly, how to respond (and how not to respond) to stark disagreement, distrust, and grievance among members of the same polity. Beyond this reconstruction of Muchnik's particular, historically-specific reflections and actions, I suggest a broader relevance and application for Michnik's insights: in addressing a transition between two sharply different political systems and forms of political action (totalitarianism and democracy, dissident resistance and modern, liberal citizenship), Michnik offers reflections and arguments that can inform the way in which citizens of even stable and established democracies transition between, or navigate among, the contending goals and roles that they (we) encounter in everyday political life – idealistic activists for far-reaching change and pragmatic participants in electoral contests, conscience-driven individuals and civil associates bound by the demands of others, democratic citizens who look to politics for fulfillment and liberal individuals who seeks solace and definition in private life.


Name: Hisseine Faradj
Section: Democratic Theory
Professional Email: hisseine.faradj@bcc.cuny.edu
Professional Status: Assistant Professor
Institution: Bromx Community College CUNY
Scheduling Preference: Saturday Morning
Proposal Type: Paper
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Paper Title: Sayyid Qutb’s Hakimiyyah Without the Binary of Sovereignty
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The work of Sayyid Qutb is usually read as a major source for understanding the history of radical Islam and Islamist groups motives and goals. Special attention in constructing his political theory is usually given to Qutb’s two binary concepts hakimiyyah (the highest governmental and legal authority) and Jahiliyyah (the condition of any place or society where Allah is not held to be the sovereign being or His law the sole authority in human life and society). This article contends that “sovereignty” as the Arabic term “hakimiyyah” is usually translated is misleading and confusing for understanding his political theory. The term “sovereignty” has a particular legal, geographical and historical European context that is alien to Qutb’s “hakimiyyah.” While the term “sovereignty,” referring to the location of the highest power in a political-legal hierarchy, is accurate, it imposes three other attributes (sequence, effect, and independence) on the concept of “hakimiyyah” that Qutb never intended. This is especially true with the independence attribute of sovereignty that excludes sequence and effect and, as a consequence, produces a binary internal/external character. This paper argues that the Arabic term “al siyadah,” which Qutb did not use in his theory of “hakimiyyah,” is a more appropriate and faithful translation of the English term “sovereignty.” Instead, the term “rule” in its historical and cultural generality is the more appropriate translation of “hakimiyyah.” This claim unsettles the binary character that is usually attributed to Qutb’s political writing and consequently contributes new ways understanding core concepts in his political thinking such as justice, equality, and rights. Consequently, a better and fresh understanding of his influence on the history of radical Islam and Islamist groups.


Name: Andrius Galisanka
Section: Democratic Theory
Professional Email: galisaa@wfu.edu
Professional Status: Assistant Professor
Institution: Wake Forest University
Scheduling Preference: Thursday Afternoon
Proposal Type: Paper
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Paper Title: Naturalistic Turn in Political Theory: John Rawls and Wittgenstein’s “Forms of Life”
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Since the 1950s, American liberalism has tried to show that reasonable persons can agree in their political visions. This goal stands in stark contrast to the 1920s pluralistic liberalism of Lippmann and Dewey, and the rising contemporary “realist” tradition in political theory. The expectation of agreement is in large part due to the political philosopher John Rawls. In A Theory of Justice, Rawls argued that considered judgments of reasonable person exhibit the same principles, even though this is not immediately apparent. Surprisingly, Rawls’s reasons for expecting this agreement have not been explored. As a result, it is unclear why everyone’s judgments – however idealized – should reveal the same patterns. This paper asks what beliefs informed Rawls’s expectation that reasonable persons can agree in their judgments. I argue that Rawls’s political expectation is grounded in a naturalistic philosophical vision: a vision according to which facts about human nature, and the nature of human societies, have bearing on political views. Analyzing unpublished notes from Rawls’s archive, I show that Rawls was inspired by Ludwig Wittgenstein’s naturalism. Rawls was thus part of a larger naturalistic turn in political theory in the 1950s, which included, among others, G.E.M. Anscombe, Philippa Foot, Stephen Toulmin, and J.N. Findlay. He saw much promise in Wittgenstein’s concept “form of life,” which included social practices and biological capacities assumed in descriptions of what it is to be human. Rawls proposed to view “having morality as a form of life, or as an aspect of a form of life.” Analyzing various moral attitudes, in particular that of sympathy, Rawls concluded that “all moralities resemble one another in their prima facie principles; they have this sort of family likeness.” If this argument is right, then an important assessment of the public reason liberalism and the family of doctrines that continue to rely on agreement among reasonable persons is to turn to the naturalistic background that underlies our political commitments. I hope this paper shows why this might be a profitable venture.


Name: Michael Greenberg
Section: Comparative Politics
Professional Email: megree@ship.edu
Professional Status: Associate Professor
Institution: Shippensburg University
Scheduling Preference: No Preference
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Paper Title: Agent and Structure: A Developing Theory of Leadership in Representative Government
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Co-author info: Cynthia A. Botteron, Shippensburg University cabott@ship.edu
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This paper addresses the question “Do the writers of constitutions adjust the requirements for elected officials across the branches of government to suit the tasks/responsibilities of the office much as a business would do for prospective employees?” Using data from the "Comparative Representation Project: Requirements for National Office" data set, we examine the range of constitutional requirements countries apply to those running for office. Additionally, we examine the frequency of use of constitutional requirements for office between countries. Finally, we compare the similarities in both type and frequency of requirements across legislative and executive branches within countries. Specifically, we find support for what is emerging as a modified theory of leadership democracy whereby states actively construct an office-specific biography that places far greater formal burdens on office seekers than previously realized by scholars of democracy.


Name: Mykolas Gudelis
Section:
Professional Email: mykolasgudelis@gmail.com
Professional Status: Graduate Student
Institution: The New School for Social Research
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Paper Title: Demochronos: The Political Time of Democracy
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Through the lens of temporality and the perspective of the conjunction between politics and time, this paper takes a look at ancient democracy from its inception in late antiquity. Considering the view of the social context of time as a realm of a multiplicity of temporalities, I argue that democracy as a political form of collective life of the community based on the principle of equality creates its own time and delineates its own temporal parameters by reflecting and temporally “embodying” principles, institutions, and social and cultural practices of democratic politics. In other words, from the temporal perspective, democracy can be seen as a political form of self-temporalization of the community. Such self-temporalization corresponds to the principle of collective self-governance, in the process of which the community continuously creates and recreates its own time by weaving together different temporal strands of its political life. In developing the concept of “demochronos” as the political time of democracy, this paper emphasizes the importance of the notion of time in politics and its significance in early political theory by demonstrating that the notion of time, and its discourses indirectly addressing the role of time in politics, was of central importance in arguments against democracy by its intellectual opponents of the time. The paper concludes by highlighting the tension between the political time of democracy and time articulated as an external temporal framework superimposed over the collective body of the democratic community in order to regulate, control, and limit its politico-temporal space, which results in the deflation of democracy’s emancipatory potential.


Name: Jyl Josephson
Section: Democratic Theory
Professional Email: jyljosephson@gmail.com
Professional Status: Associate Professor
Institution: Rutgers University-Newark
Scheduling Preference: No Preference
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Paper Title: Public universities and the public interest
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The deep commitment of the two Morrill Acts of the 19th century was to the idea of the university as serving the public good, as good for the people as a whole, not just for the individuals who participated in the university. Yet this idea of the university, of higher education, as a public good in a democratic polity is often absent from contemporary discussions of higher education. The purposes of higher education are seen primarily in private, individualized, or in market-based ways, and as unrelated to democratic public purposes. One problem with the language of the “public good” is that it is most often seen from the framework of economics, and not in the ways that democratic political theory might frame the idea of the “public good”. For this reason, I argue in this paper that the language of the “public interest” is more useful at this moment for capturing what democratic political theorists might mean by the public purposes of public universities. A number of political theorists have laid the groundwork for thinking about higher education as serving the public interest (Anderson 1993; Boyte 2014). Whether we think of “full participation” (Sturm et al 2011), of “democracy’s colleges” (Peters), of “social capital” (Farr 2004), of the “outside-in university” (Cantor and Englot 2014), or of “public work” (Boyte 2014), those of us committed to the future of higher education need the resources of democratic political theory. This paper draws on these resources to argue for a deepened conception of the role of colleges and universities as serving the public interest in contemporary democratic polities. To serve the public interest, universities need to think of themselves as publicly accountable to all the people, including the talent pools that we at present are not cultivating. We need to be deeply connected to, to be “of” the places and communities that we inhabit. We need to think of our engagement with our communities as multi-faceted, and deeply connected to our role as public institutions. This is a demanding agenda. But it is a necessary one, and a needed intervention in the current denuded discourses on higher education and its role in a democratic polity. Anderson, Charles W. 1993. Prescribing the Life of the Mind: An Essay on the Purpose of the University, the Aims of Liberal Education, the Competence of Citizens, and the Cultivation of Practical Reason. (Madison: University of Wisconsin Press). Boyte, Harry, “Reinventing Citizenship as Public Work,” in Harry C. Boyte, ed., Democracy’s Education: Public Work, Citizenship, and the Future of Colleges. Nashville: Vanderbilt University Press. Cantor, Nancy. 2009. “A New Morrill Act: Higher Education Anchors the ‘Remaking of America’” in The Presidency (American Council on Education), Fall 2009, 17-22. Farr, James. 2004. “Social Capital: A Conceptual History,” Political Theory 32:1, 6-33. Peters, Scott. 2014. “A Democracy’s College Tradition,” in Harry C. Boyte, ed., Democracy’s Education: Public Work, Citizenship, and the Future of Colleges. Nashville: Vanderbilt University Press. Rutgers University-Newark Strategic Plan, Rutgers University-Newark: Where Opportunity Meets Excellence, (Office of the Chancellor, Rutgers University-Newark, June 2014). Sturm, Susan, Tim Eatman, John Saltmarsh, and Adam Bush, (2011) “Full Participation: Building the Architecture for Diversity and Public Engagement in Higher Education,” (White Paper). Columbia Law School: Center for Institutional and Social Change.


Name: Christopher Kennedy
Section: Democratic Theory
Professional Email: csk10@duke.edu
Professional Status: Graduate Student
Institution: Duke University
Scheduling Preference: Friday Afternoon
Proposal Type: Paper
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Paper Title: Is Electronic Disobedience Civil?
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The interference with and manipulation of digital communication technologies has recently become a popular means of political dissent in democratic societies. The purpose of this paper is not to distinguish electronic means of protest from more traditional forms of civil disobedience. Rather, I consider a paradigm case of electronic civil disobedience and argue that understanding its peculiar features contributes to our understanding of civil disobedience in general. Most significantly, I argue that the imbalance of power between the disobedient and the disobeyed in an electronic context highlights a general feature of civil disobedience that theorists have neglected. Electronic civil disobedience illustrates why it is important that there be a relative parity between the power of the disobedient to impose her will and the power of the disobeyed to prevent it. Although this problem of power asymmetry is aggravated in an electronic context, it is still a significant problem for the traditional physical circumstances of civil disobedience. In conclusion, I argue that the “civil” character of the relationship between the disobedient and the disobeyed obligates the state to remain vulnerable to disobedience as much as it obligates the disobedient to show fidelity to the law.


Name: Aidan Kestigian
Section: Democratic Theory
Professional Email: akestigian@cmu.edu
Professional Status: Graduate Student
Institution: Carnegie Mellon University
Scheduling Preference: No Preference
Proposal Type: Paper
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Paper Title: Voting to Promote the Common Good: Two Mechanisms for Deliberative Democratic Voting
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Deliberative democratic theories contend that collective decision-making should proceed via public deliberation. This paper focuses on the broad class of deliberative democratic theories making the further claim that public deliberation followed by voting will select political outcomes that are better than those that result from voting alone. These theorists argue, in particular, that groups that participate in public deliberation before voting are more likely to select alternatives that promote the common good than if no deliberation had been held. In this paper, I outline two mechanisms discussed in the deliberative democratic theory literature that explain why voters who participate in deliberation prior to voting would behave differently than voters in non-deliberative voting systems. I then explain the difficulties one would face in attempting to substantiate each of these mechanisms using empirical data, and discuss the implications of these empirical issues for normative deliberative democratic theory.


Name: Juman Kim
Section: Democratic Theory
Professional Email: jumankim@gmail.com
Professional Status: Graduate Student
Institution: University of Pennsylvania
Scheduling Preference: Friday Afternoon
Proposal Type: Paper
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Paper Title: Democracy and the Politics of Impudence: An Unorthodox Reading of Aristotle
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This paper seeks to examine the unavoidable ‘impudence’ built into democratic political life. By this I mean we, as democratic citizens, tend to disregard dissimilar views and perspectives especially in the kind of situations in which we are enthusiastically and excessively participatory. Democratic theory has often condemned the politics of impudence as an aberration of democracy, not a problem incidental to and typical of democracy per se, while instead propagating an image of the idealized democratic self who is deliberative, reflective, and tolerant. However the portrait of this self-critical and deliberative citizen may seem normatively appealing, this view has at least two problems. First, empirically speaking, the portrait goes pale at the difficulty in fostering the kind of excitement and enthusiasm necessary for motivating democratic participation. When we care about politics, we care disproportionately more about the views and positions of our own (or those reside in contiguity with ours) while conceiving of them as superior to the rest otherwise perhaps equally reasonable opinions. Second, the rationalist account does not properly attend to the moral-psychological constitution of the democratic self at the deeper level. In the world of opposing forces and values, we usually form our political views only against, or in competition with, our opponents and enemies. In this respect, we are in fact reactive rather than straightforward. Even our seemingly most firm and consistent positions in fact rest on trembling foundations largely determined by our enemies. Democratic impudence — contempt or indifference in regard to dissimilar views and perspectives — is indicative of fear and diffidence rather than genuine strength. That is why democratic impudence is hardly overcome —certainly not by a simple negation. By drawing on and complicating Aristotle’s discussion of shame [aidōs], shamelessness/impudence [anaischuntia], and incontinence [akrasia], I demonstrate that democratic impudence is an ordinary vice in a qualified sense — something we constantly do as a result of our weakness even while acknowledging that what we do is in part disgraceful. Without any pretense of building a democratic politics devoid of impudence, this paper claims that what we can realistically do is to mobilize the seductive lure of impudence in such a way that we can promote and enlarge the sense of moderate pride associated with the virtues of magnanimity [megalopsuchia] and goodwill [eunoia]. This unorthodox reading of Aristotle suggests that by honestly professing and deploying (rather than jettisoning) our seemingly indelible impudence, we can keep alive a lively democratic politics while preventing a much more worrying trend of mutual hostility and aggressiveness.


Name: Guido Parietti
Section: Democratic Theory
Professional Email: gp2341@columbia.edu
Professional Status: Graduate Student
Institution: Columbia University
Scheduling Preference: Friday Afternoon
Proposal Type: Paper
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Paper Title: What Deliberative Democracy can Be. Or: the Turns that Were not
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"Deliberative democracy" is said to have undergone various phases throughout its roughly 35 years of history as a contemporary political theory, marked by a slew of subsequent turns. The more recent of these would be a “systemic turn”, meant to bring back the focus to a society-wide level of analysis, in contrast with the more limited, and more immediately empirical, contributions which, themselves at their time saluted as a positive innovation, seemingly dominated the previous decade or so. This narrative presents a theoretical approach developing organically, by gradually shifting its focus and enriching its substance in the course of responding to the various limitations uncovered by critics. As far as it goes, this is not an unfaithful reconstruction, at least from the internal point of view of those academics who are presenting it, in that it well corresponds to the prevailing perceptions of the participants in the ongoing debates. However, from the point of view of the theory’s possible validity, the narrative has serious problems. As many academic insiders’ stories, it tends to exaggerate the degree of innovation in each “turn”, even while it attempts to preserve the image of a progressive development which papers over those that, instead, would be the actual fault lines between incompatible approaches. Thus, here I would like to question such prevailing narrative and to propose an alternative reading that makes better sense of what deliberative democracy can validly be. First, we will see how the alleged “systemic turn” is mostly a return to what deliberative democracy was already doing before the previous “empirical turn” (and how, indeed, the timeline itself has much more overlap than would be allowed by the “turning” narrative). Secondly, we will see how this return to the roots is not compatible with a unitary view of deliberative democracy’s development, because empirically focused approaches, far from being a step within a common path, do indeed contradict the basic normative premises of deliberative democracy. Insofar as the systemic turn poses as superseding such approaches, while still maintaining their basic instrumental framework, it is also behold to the same contradictions with the validity claims raised by early deliberative theories. Finally, we shall see how this contrast has to be brought back to the more basic opposition between teleological and deontological approaches, which subsumes the longstanding opposition between procedural and substantive theories, and as such has relevant implications for the normative side of the theory, not just for its relation with the empirical one.


Name: Tomer Perry
Section: Modern Political Theory
Professional Email: tperry@ethics.harvard.edu
Professional Status: Adjunct Professor
Institution: Harvard University
Scheduling Preference: Friday Morning
Proposal Type: Paper
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Paper Title: Deliberative Democratic Justice
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Deliberative Democratic Justice – abstract This article presents a novel theory of deliberative democratic justice, distinguished from other theories of democracy and justice. I argue that (a) decision-making processes are a distinct subject matter of justice that I call procedural justice and (b) deliberative democracy is best understood as responding to questions of procedural justice. To substantiate the first claim, I note the high-stakes involved in decision-making processes and argue that the indirect attention given to them by the more common paradigm of ‘distributive justice’ is insufficient. This criticism generalizes the classic argument, championed by thinkers such as Elizabeth Anderson, Jonathan Wolff and Samuel Scheffler, that egalitarians miss the point of equality when they construe it in strictly distributive terms. The same is true, I argue, about other questions of justice that do not require equality. In addition to articulating my position, the article provides a conceptual framework for evaluating different theories and the way they relate considerations of distributive and procedural justice. To justify the second claim, I argue that counting deliberative democracy as a theory of justice fits better with the theory’s demandingness as well as the fundamental ambition of the theory “to subject the exercise of power to reason’s discipline, to what Habermas famously described as ‘the force of the better argument’” (Cohen, 2009, 330). This ambition echoes the definition of procedural justice (that has also been called ‘political justice’ and ‘relational justice’). My commitment to democracy is foundational: no other commitment is considered prior or more basic. As such, its demands are considered prior to those of any independently justified theory of distributive justice. Nonetheless, the theory is not purely procedural. It has, as Scheffler (2003, 22) calls it, ‘distributive implications.’ As a consequence, it may overlap with some distributive theories but the overlap is not complete with any particular theory and the differences matter .


Name: Naomi Scheinerman
Section: Democratic Theory
Professional Email: naomi.scheinerman@gmail.com
Professional Status: Graduate Student
Institution: Yale University
Scheduling Preference: Friday Morning
Proposal Type: Paper
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Paper Title: Deciding the Fundamental Questions of Humanity: Moral and Science Experts v. the Average Human
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How should participants and stakeholders in democratic systems seek to resolve seemingly intractable questions regarding the philosophical and biological conceptions of humanity? In particular, who should define humanity’s uniqueness (or lack thereof) for the purposes of policies and laws that govern perceived threats to the human/nonhuman divide? In 2015, NIH suspended funding of chimeric nonhuman/human embryos “pending an ethics and policy review” and later convened a gathering of researchers and bioethicists to debate the guidelines for such research. The primary concern is that mixing human pluripotent cells with nonhumans early in fetal development may result in human neural tissue development. This perceived threat of the species boundaries reflects the great challenge in demarcating the human/nonhuman divide. This threatens not only the species-integrity boundary, but the foundations upon which we have based a vast number of laws, policies, and regulations, including protocols for using human and animal research subjects. Chimeric research inspires the question “is there something more than animal and less than human?” Further, cyber-human technology, genetic engineering (such as by using CRISPR), and other “enhancements” inspire us to ask “what is more than human?” How and by whom should such questions be resolved for the basis of law and policy? I posit that the moral and scientific experts do not have the appropriate “critical distance” in order to decide policies based upon their answers, and fall victim to the many problems of technocratic regimes. Rather, I examine how perhaps the best (as in most epistemically integral and morally legitimate) venue for such decisions is or a more democratically deliberative or crowd-sourcing process. In so doing, I re-conceptualize what it means to be an expert regarding human existence, both in ts biological delineation and social or cultural meaning.


Name: Sid Simpson
Section: Continental Political Thought
Professional Email: sidsimpson@live.com
Professional Status: Graduate Student
Institution: University of Notre Dame
Scheduling Preference: No Preference
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Paper Title: The One Thing Needful: Nietzsche as a Resource for Style in Dialectic of Enlightenment
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Nietzsche’s Genealogy of Morals and Adorno and Horkheimer’s Dialectic of Enlightenment offer two of the most damning critiques of Enlightenment rationality to date. Dialectic of Enlightenment, however, mentions Nietzsche only to the extent that it can dismiss his thought as ultimately dangerous, problematic and cruel. In this paper, I seek to demonstrate three things. First, I pay close attention to the characterization of Nietzsche’s work that appears in Dialectic of Enlightenment, and argue that it presents a reading of Nietzsche that is not only partial, but intentionally hyperbolic: his portrayal as an advocate of an ethic of cruelty is misrepresentative. Second, I draw out the larger critical continuities between the authors. These include the shared insight that the tradition is fundamentally self-undermining, that science is a modern outgrowth of the Enlightenment rationality that crumbled before it, and finally that modern culture is stupefied and sickened by the exploitation of these logics. Finally, I look to a single shared hope for newness of ‘style’ that can be seen between the two works. Dialectic of Enlightenment argues that art offers a fleeting possibility of style in its agonistic relationship with the tradition and encapsulation of the internal contradictions of society. I argue that Nietzsche, though chronologically prior, goes a step further than Adorno and Horkheimer by outlining the possibility of understanding the human life as a piece of art whereby one can live with style. This formulation opens the door to certain political avenues that are otherwise closed for Adorno and Horkheimer. Thus, the paper attempts to show that despite the one-dimensional utilization of Nietzsche, Adorno and Horkheimer have much more common ground with Nietzsche than they might admit, and moreover that their notion of style could be bolstered by a backwards look towards Nietzsche’s developed thought in order to confront their supposed 'aporia of praxis or politics.'


Name: Eniola Anuoluwapo Soyemi
Section: Modern Political Theory
Professional Email: soyemi@bu.edu
Professional Status: Graduate Student
Institution: Boston University
Scheduling Preference: No Preference
Proposal Type: Paper
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Paper Title: Testing Participation: A Lagos Transportation Experiment
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Between February 2015 and May 2016, I carried out a field experiment using a city-wide transportation system in Lagos, Nigeria. I set out to test the effect of citizen participation in rule-making on levels of obedience to those rules. Over 3,000 bus users were recruited at various bus terminals across the city by myself and two research assistants from the University of Lagos over the course of approximately eight weeks. Each person was randomly allocated into small groups under one of three experiment conditions: Full Participation -- in which participants had sole responsibility for determining and deliberating on what rules would guide the future use of the buses by the public; Semi-Participation -- here participants were allowed to discuss these rules but could not alter or add to the rules; and Control -- where the rules were simply read out to participants and no discussion was permitted. Rules (as determined by full participation groups) were kept the same across all treatments. Upon completing treatments, each person was sent a text message of a final list of ten 'passenger use rules'. Two weeks later, participants were administered three separate list surveys that sought to determine their level of obedience to each of three rules that had been selected by me from the final list of ten. In early May 2016, all list surveys were completed; and in late May, I was able to complete statistical analysis on the data collected. Does participation cause citizens to perceive that the rules they are instructed to obey are any more or less legitimate than had they not participated in the making of those rules? And at the very least, does participation in rule-making correspond to higher levels of reported obedience? My research suggests that, by itself, higher degrees of participation may, in fact, lead to lower levels of obedience. Derived from a chapter of my Ph.D. dissertation – 'The Law’s Moral Legitimacy and the Significance of Participation’ – this paper will present the empirical and theoretical findings from my field experiment in Lagos, Nigeria. The experiment allows me to inventively incorporate empirical methodologies with traditional philosophical analysis of, in this case, Aristotle and Rousseau, in providing a novel philosophical understanding of participation’s role to the establishment of legitimate law.


Name: Brian Sullivan
Section: Parties, Interest Groups, Social Movements, & Electoral Behavior
Professional Email: Sullivanbrian512@gmail.com
Professional Status: Graduate Student
Institution: Stony Brook University
Scheduling Preference: Saturday Afternoon
Proposal Type: Panel
Participation Type: Panelist
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Paper Title: The Pathology of Radicalism: The Psychology of the Alienated Left
Panel Title: Lessons from the past: Rethinking contemporary left theory and praxis
Panel Description: This panel seeks to discuss the decline in leftist theory and practice since the progressive era of the 19th and 20th centuries to a point of near non-existence. The very few progressive movements that have occurred in recent times have failed to gain any momentum. Why has this decline been so acute within the last 20 to 30 years? Which psychological, economic and social situations lead to this decline and prevent it from gaining momentum? What can the left do to generate the momentum progressive politics desperately needs? With the few movements that have occurred within this time frame, why did they fail to gain traction? These are the questions this panel will seek to elicit a dialogue with by using past theory and practice to diagnose the issues of the contemporary left. Through this panel, we hope to demonstrate that the contemporary left will not achieve anything substantial without returning to and integrating the systematic tactics, strategies, and perspectives leftist literature from the 19th and 20th centuries discussed.
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Traditional critical social psychology developed in the 19th and 20th century by the likes by Karl Marx, Theodor Adorno, Herbert Marcuse, and Erich Fromm provided the groundwork for future leftist movements to diagnose the problems of modern industrial society and its negative implications for the psychology of individuals residing within it. Each thinker provided solutions built upon their critiques by pointing to history on both the individual and societal levels. Today Marx, Adorno, Marcuse and Fromm are consistently misinterpreted and trumped by contemporary leftist thought that attempt to contrast mainstream societal problems with an unawareness or dismissal of the united historical struggles of the human race and replaces it with hate and shame exhibited attacks. This paper seeks to explain why the contemporary left fails to include traditional critical social psychology into their critiques of modern industrial society. By attempting to break free of what Fromm calls “consensual validation,” much of the left’s population opposes society’s “pathology of normalcy” with its own form of reasonless critique in what I will call the “pathology of radicalism.” The “pathology of radicalism” poses that the individuals who consist of the left have become so alienated from society that they retract back into themselves and project their own alienated narcissism back onto the fractured society in which they live.


Name: zhifa zhou
Section: Modern Political Theory
Professional Email: zhouhanshan@aliyun.com
Professional Status: Associate Professor
Institution: Institute of African Study, Zhejiang Normal University, China
Scheduling Preference: No Preference
Proposal Type: Roundtable
Participation Type: Panelist
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Paper Title: The Construction of Mistake-Tolerantism With Chinese Characteristics and Universality
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How to theorize Chinese great progress in the past more than thirty years is the hottest topic in China nowadays, which is not in the explanatory frame of liberalism. On July 1, 2006, “Trial and Error Ordinance” in Shenzhen developed from the idea “Across the river by touching the stone” agreed by comrade Xiaoping Deng was enacted, which has encouraged government officials to create new ideas to solve the innovative problems in their work. In 2013, Shunde in Guangdong province enacted “Trial and Error Ordinance” and put forward “the right to trial and error” first of all in China, then the mistake-tolerant mechanism is accepted and spread in the main land of China, especially after Premier Keqiang Li emphasized the importance of it in his government report on March 5, 2016. New Rights Paradigm, “the right to trial and error as an original right and mutual empowerment theory”, is proposed by the combination of the state of nature and the scientific method of trial and error. The reason why liberalism cannot explain China’s development is that the right to liberty, key right of liberalism, is equal to the “right to trial and error” in the innovative fields that can be granted from one person to another, as cannot be accepted by liberalism; on the other hand, the right to liberty in non-innovative fields is the subordinate one whose original meaning was defined by the persons who have controlled the original right “the right to trial and error”. Mutual empowerment theory means that the persons A and B would like to grant their “original right to trial and error” to the one C by contract, and C should empower the corresponding rights to A and B, such as the right to criticism, speech and education etc., and their meaning and number can be changed according to different settings and cultures. The right to liberty in the non-innovative field as the subordinate right cannot be transferred to others as consistent with liberalism. The Ordinance of Trial and Error is prior to the Constitution in the innovative fields if the Constitution not protecting people’s right to trial and error is based on the subordinate rights, which can explain that why Chinese government officials have to violate the Constitution at the beginning of 1980s, and Comrade Xiaoping Deng would like to use non-debating to avoid it. New Rights Paradigm has shown that Chinese people have got more rights to trial and error than ever during Reform and Opening-up, and are responsible for their own subordinate rights. The present problem is that Chinese government has the strong rights to trial and error in many innovative fields granted from the people, but it has not empowered the corresponding rights efficiently to them. New Rights Paradigm integrated with Chinese characteristics and liberalism has tried to find the best way to make China become a democratic state and explain Western democratic problems existing since 1980s.[Key Words] State of Nature; Right to Trial and Error; New Rights Paradigm; Liberalism