PHI318 Liberty, Community & Democracy



Over the course of the last half-century, democracy has become the single world-wide name for the legitimate basis of political authority. Even the most repressive regimes purport to be democratic, presumably in the belief that this would legitimize their hold on power. In this course we will consider whether, and why, democracy is essential to a state’s moral standing. We will begin by considering different accounts of the state’s relation to its citizens. We will then look at a number of different theories of what democracy is, and what its moral significance consists in. Along the way we will consider such questions as: Are democratic citizens morally required to vote? Who must be granted voting rights in a democracy? Must an MP defer to the views of her constituents when the constituents overwhelmingly disagree with her view on a crucial political issue?


Two coursework essays [50% each].


Daniel Viehoff

Lectures: Autumn Semester 2013-14

Monday 3-4 Room HI-LT4
Thursday 12-1 Room MAPP-LT9


Wed 11-12 JB-SR 215
Fri 10-11 9MS-SR-G27