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dc.contributor.advisor Sher, George
dc.creatorWenner, Danielle Marie
dc.date.accessioned 2013-03-08T00:39:58Z
dc.date.available 2013-03-08T00:39:58Z
dc.date.issued 2012
dc.identifier.urihttps://hdl.handle.net/1911/70491
dc.description.abstract Justifications of democracy rest in large part on unacknowledged empirical assumptions regarding the cognitive, informational, and behavioral capacities of individuals and voting populations. The goal of this project was to identify those assumptions and examine them in light of data from the social sciences. To the extent that these assumptions are undermined by empirical evidence, the normative legitimacy of democracy as a system of rule is weakened. Theories of democracy were organized along a continuum from purely instrumental to purely intrinsic or procedural, and a representative sample of theories from along this spectrum were analyzed in order to identify their core empirical assumptions. Interest-based, deliberative, and egalitarian theories of democracy were each demonstrated to be predicated on substantive empirical assumptions which were contradicted by the available evidence. A sophisticated hybrid account incorporating aspects from along the spectrum of available theories was likewise demonstrated to be predicated on unsubstantiated assumptions regarding human capacities. A concluding analysis of the circumstances which undermine the assumptions of democratic theory demonstrated the limited tractability of these circumstances, leading to my assertion that a new conception of what democracy is and what purposes it should serve is warranted, and that in the interim, contemporary attempts to justify the dissemination of democracy are undermined.
dc.format.extent 176 p.
dc.format.mimetype application/pdf
dc.language.iso eng
dc.subjectPhilosophy
Religion
Theology
Social sciences
Democracy
Voting
Political science
dc.title Democracy in the Real World: Empirical Breakdowns in the Justification of Democracy
dc.identifier.digital WennerD
dc.type.genre Thesis
dc.type.material Text
thesis.degree.department Philosophy
thesis.degree.discipline Humanities
thesis.degree.grantor Rice University
thesis.degree.level Doctoral
thesis.degree.name Doctor of Philosophy
dc.identifier.citation Wenner, Danielle Marie. "Democracy in the Real World: Empirical Breakdowns in the Justification of Democracy." (2012) Diss., Rice University. https://hdl.handle.net/1911/70491.


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