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Justice and Democracy

Justice and Democracy: Cross-Cultural Perspectives

Ron Bontekoe
Marietta Stepaniants
Copyright Date: 1997
https://www.jstor.org/stable/j.ctt6wqxhw
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  • Book Info
    Justice and Democracy
    Book Description:

    Today democracy is increasingly recognized around the world as the only form of government with moral legitimacy. The problems of establishing and preserving truly democratic institutions, however, vary dramatically from culture to culture. Justice and Democracy explores these problems from a wide range of perspectives, theoretical and practical. It addresses problems related to the distortion of democratic decision-making by the gross disparities in wealth that arise in capitalist economies, and, in particular, focuses on the problems relating to the reconciliation of democratic values with the indigenous religious and social values of a culture.

    eISBN: 978-0-8248-6319-7
    Subjects: Political Science

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-x)
  3. PREFACE
    (pp. 1-4)
    Ron Bontekoe and Marietta Stepaniants
  4. ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
    (pp. 5-6)
    Marietta Stepaniants
  5. 1. Theoretical Approaches

    • JUSTICE AS A LARGER LOYALTY
      (pp. 9-22)
      Richard Rorty

      All of us would expect help if, pursued by the police, we asked our family to hide us. Most of us would extend such help even when we know our child or our parent to be guilty of a sordid crime. Many of us would be willing to perjure ourselves in order to supply such a child or parent with a false alibi. But if an innocent person is wrongly convicted as a result of our perjury, most of us will be torn by a conflict between loyalty and justice.

      Such a conflict will be felt, however, only to the...

    • LAW AS POLITICIANSʹ MORALITY
      (pp. 23-36)
      Erikh Solovyov

      Everywhere the process of formation of democratic institutions is accompanied by a severe and demanding moral criticism of political practice.¹ Such was the case in Western Europe in the eighteenth century, such is the case today in those countries that develop a model of ademocratic constitutional state. The historic experience of modern Russia is of great (and maybe, exclusive) interest in this respect.

      The rapid changes that have occurred in our country after 1985 have awakened a mass interest in the subject of morality and politics. The conditions ofglasnostallowed the veil over the mechanisms of political domination...

    • JUSTICE AND SOLIDARITY: THE CASE OF RECOGNITION
      (pp. 37-50)
      María Pía Lara

      Today democracy is almost universally acclaimed as the criterion of legitimacy for political systems. The consensus regarding its worth is the result of painful historical experiences in this century. The revival of political philosophy in academic circles reflects a need to rethink some basic issues concerning what democracy is and how it should be conceived. Political philosophers are discussing whether democracy is merely a form of government, or a political way of life, and how proceduralism relates to questions concerning the good, or if it is even capable of dealing with such substantial issues. Communitarianism and feminism have raised many...

    • EQUALITY AND DIFFERENCE IN DEMOCRATIC THEORY
      (pp. 51-60)
      Kenneth Baynes

      Critics of liberal equality have traditionally argued (somewhat paradoxically) either that the idea of equality is empty and has no independent value apart from its relation to other ideals or that its unchecked pursuit conflicts with other political values, such as liberty.¹ Recently, these (generally “conservative”) critics of equality have been joined by more “progressive” feminists and “multiculturalists.” Liberal equality, for these critics, is a wholly formal and abstract idea that in practice perpetuates inequalities by privileging those who conform to the underlying (and for the most part unspoken) norms in light of which judgments of equality and difference are...

    • GROUNDING A THEORY OF RIGHTS IN FALLIBILIST EPISTEMOLOGY
      (pp. 61-74)
      Ron Bontekoe

      In listening to Richard Rorty’s paper (see “Justice as a Larger Loyalty” in this volume), it struck me yet again that what Rorty fails to appreciate sufficiently is that workable social arrangements arediscoveries. As someone who identifies himself as a pragmatist, but one who hews to the Peirce-Dewey line rather than to Rortian neopragmatism, I think we need to take our discoveries rather seriously. While I agree that we should eschew paying ourselves and our ways of doing things empty compliments by designating them as “rational” in some transcendental sense, I feel as well that we should avoid needlessly...

  6. 2. Contemporary Problems of Application

    • ON RELATING JUSTICE AND DEMOCRACY: A STRATEGY AND A HYPOTHESIS
      (pp. 77-92)
      Frank Cunningham

      A standard socialist argument has been that democratic political rights are shallow unless economic equality affords everyone a realistic opportunity to make use of them. Collapse of most of the world’s socialist governments in the name of democracy evidently challenges those, like myself, who continue to regard this claim sound. Nor is it enough simply to assert that socialism is necessary though not sufficient for a robust democracy. The project of this contribution, then, is to explicate and modify a strategy behind the earlier argument and to offer a hypothesis about how that strategy might be employed. The prescribed strategy...

    • DELIBERATION, DEMOCRACY, DISAGREEMENT
      (pp. 93-118)
      Cass R. Sunstein

      What is the relationship between democracy and justice? No simple answer could make sense. There are many different conceptions of both democracy and justice. Some conceptions produce conflicts, others do not.¹

      If we understand democracy as simple majority rule, and if we understand justice as entailing the protection of certain rights, democracy and justice may well conflict, at least if majorities are not respectful of rights. Majorities may well violate rights. Thus on plausible assumptions, majoritarian conceptions of democracy are incompatible with justice. Those who find justice to be an overriding goal will therefore seek to limit the scope of...

    • DEMOCRACY AS CULTURE
      (pp. 119-132)
      J. E. Tiles

      Political democracy may not be the only meaning of “democracy,” but has it not been profoundly inspiring? Have not wars and revolutions been fought so that the people might have a voice in saying who is to govern them? Is that not what all who labor under the yoke of tyranny yearn for?

      Of course, desires of all kinds, including the yearnings of the oppressed, are directed at objects which may not be adequately understood. To succeed in business is not necessarily to put financial worries behind one. To marry is not necessarily to live happily ever after. A government...

    • HIERARCHIC DEMOCRACY AND THE NECESSITY OF MASS CIVIL DISOBEDIENCE
      (pp. 133-148)
      Ted Honderich

      If we make an uncontroversial list of the liberal democracies, certainly including the United States and Great Britain, and if we then try to conceive of or understand them in a general way, we may arrive at what can be called the Ordinary Conception of them. It boils down to three propositions.¹

      1. The people, legitimately influenced during an election, choose representatives who promise certain policies, and afterwards the people legitimately influence the elected representatives.

      2. There is universal suffrage in the election—one person, one vote—and approximate equality in both the influencing of the people during the election and their...

    • Post-Communism, Democracy, Nationality, and Capitalist Economy
      (pp. 149-160)
      Svetozar Stojanović

      Postcommunist development followed the demise of monopoly structural control on the part of the communist-statist class over the state and, through it, over the economy and all other sectors. Until the nature of the new social orders crystallizes sufficiently, we have to designate as “postcommunism” a “transition period” in which, along with the supposed break, considerable continuity with the previous situation will persist, particularly as regards cadres and the economy.

      Postcommunism constitutesa mix of communism, precommunism and capitalismthat differs significantly from country to country and the final form of which depends on what prevails from among these three...

  7. 3. Asian Perspectives

    • CONFUCIANISM, MODERNITY, AND ASIAN DEMOCRACY
      (pp. 163-180)
      Ambrose Y. C. King

      The political revolution in 1989 in Eastern Europe and the dramatic events of August 1991 in Moscow did not only mark the end of the Cold War era, but also the beginning of a worldwide wave of democratization. Marc F. Platter hailed the arrival of democracy on the ruins of Leninist Socialism as “the democratic moment” and stated that “we may at last be entering a sustained period of peaceful democratic hegemony—a kind of ‘Pax Democratica’.”¹ Samuel P. Huntington saw that, between 1974 and 1990, at least thirty countries made transitions to democracy, doubling the number of democratic governments...

    • CAN WE DO JUSTICE TO ALL THEORIES OF JUSTICE? TOWARD INTEGRATING CLASSICAL AND MODERN PARADIGMS OF JUSTICE
      (pp. 181-198)
      Chung-Ying Cheng

      Despite the many discussions on the subject, the problem of justice has always retained a freshness and incisiveness that challenges our understanding. This is because, in our search for a theoretical explanation of a theory of justice and a rational account of its applicability, we always start from an immediate and concrete sense of justice or injustice. Thus consider the recent problem of socialized medicine and healthcare in America: Which theoretical approach among the proprietarians, communitarians, utilitarians, and contractarians¹ will most fully satisfy our demand for (which is to say, our concrete sense of) justice? Or consider the rival claims...

    • THE IDEA OF DEMOCRACY AND THE TWILIGHT OF THE ELITE CULTURE IN MODERN CHINA
      (pp. 199-216)
      Yü Ying-shih

      In his famousDemocracy in America, Alexis de Tocqueville made the following most illuminating observation:

      If ever a democratic republic similar to that of the United States came to be established in a country in which earlier a single man’s power had introduced administrative centralization and had made it something accepted by custom and by law, I have no hesitation in saying that in such a republic despotism would become more intolerable than in any of the absolute monarchies of Europe. One would have to go over into Asia to find anything with which to compare it.¹

      Needless to say,...

    • DEMOCRACY AND JUSTICE: PRESUPPOSITIONS AND IMPLICATIONS Some Philosophical Reflections from a Non-Western Perspective
      (pp. 217-230)
      Daya Krishna

      The demand for “equality” may be said to lie at the very roots of both democracy and justice. The one pertains to the realm of the political, while the other belongs to the legal domain. Yet, as everybody knows, the realm of politics is the realm of power, which is essentially asymmetrical in nature, and the realm of law is only a realm which legitimates existing inequalities. But if, in principle, not everyone can be equal in the political realm, then what is involved in the pursuit of “democracy”—which is prescribed as the ideal political form of government by...

    • GANDHIʹS CONCEPTION OF DEMOCRACY
      (pp. 231-240)
      Ramjee Singh

      An inventory of the use of the term “democracy” is apt to become a barren enterprise in semantics.² However, no word is in itself either ambiguous or unambiguous, but only as it is used on this or that occasion.³ There can hardly be any doubt that the term “democracy” has not only been usedambiguouslyandvaguely, but also that it has beenmisused. For example, during the two World Wars, which were solemnly proclaimed to have been fought in defense, and for the victory, ofdemocracy. For this reason, the use of the term “democracy,” without any historical, social,...

    • DEMOCRACY AND JUSTICE: ISLAMʹS POLITICAL MESSAGE RESTATED
      (pp. 241-256)
      Javid Iqbal

      The political message of Islam is reflected in the Quran and the “Practice (sunnah) of the Prophet of Islam.” The Prophet migrated from his ancestral home, Mecca, because the Meccans were not willing to accept the new faith. Arriving at Medina, and with the support of the citizenry, he founded a state there. Thus the state is an integral part of Islam from its inception.

      As the head of this new state, the Prophet regulated political and military affairs, and as the Messenger of God, he was not obliged to consult others. But he consulted his companions in all matters...

    • WESTERN AND ISLAMIC VIEWS OF DEMOCRACY AND JUSTICE: A COMPARATIVE AND INTERPRETATIVE STUDY
      (pp. 257-272)
      Majid Fakhry

      Political theory, as the “disciplined investigation of political problems,” writes George Sabine, was invented by the Greeks in the fifth century b.c.”¹ But Greece, as he adds by way of highlighting the cosmopolitan character of political theory, “is the place where Europeans contacted the civilization of the ancient Middle East and it was there that man crossed the threshold of science, philosophy, and political theory.”²

      We will have occasion later on in this study to refer to the cultural interactions of Greece with the Middle East, of which the Islamic world was, and continues to be, an integral part. In...

  8. 4. Comparative Perspectives

    • DEWEY, CHINA, AND THE DEMOCRACY OF THE DEAD
      (pp. 275-292)
      David L. Hall and Roger T. Ames

      On May 1, 1919, John Dewey arrived in China to begin his twenty-six month lecture tour. Three days later, the May Fourth uprising occurred in Beijing, initiating one of the most crucial periods in the history of modern China. In the beginning, the New Culture movement was particularly open to novel ideas and programs urging social reform, and given that the central subject of Dewey’s numerous and wide-ranging lectures was to be that of “democracy,” circumstances appeared auspicious for the positive reception of Western democratic ideas. Indeed, Dewey’s influence was significant. Among other things, soon after his arrival, efforts were...

    • THE DISAPPEARANCE OF THE PUBLIC GOOD: CONFUCIUS/DEWEY/RORTY
      (pp. 293-308)
      Joseph Grange

      In this essay, I wish to describe the disappearance of the public good as a subject of philosophical discourse. The works of Confucius and of John Dewey contain robust concepts of the public good. But in the controversial work of Richard Rorty, the idea of the public good undergoes a radical transformation. I will examineThe Great Learningof Confucius, John Dewey’sThe Public and Its Problemsand Richard Rorty’sContingency, Irony, and Solidarity. What I hope will emerge from this cross-cultural study is a reconsideration of the relation between metaphysics and social philosophy.

      I am aware that it is...

    • FREEDOM: A BUDDHIST CRITIQUE
      (pp. 309-326)
      David Loy

      The growth of freedom has been the central theme of history, Lord Acton believed, because it represents God’s plan for humanity. One does not need such a Whiggish view of history to notice that the history of the West, at least, has indeed been a story of the development of freedom (whether actualized or idealized). We trace the origins of Western civilization back to the Greek “emancipation” of reason from myth. Since the Renaissance, there has been a progressive emphasis, first on religious freedom, then political freedom, followed by economic freedom, colonial and racial freedom, and most recently sexual and...

    • BUDDHIST ETHICS AND SOCIAL JUSTICE
      (pp. 327-342)
      Michael Barnhart

      It is hard to connect political theory or even ethics generally, in its Western philosophical guise, with Buddhism. And it is even harder to connect concepts of social justice with Buddhism. This is not to say that Buddhism lacks moral content. On the contrary, there are a wide range of Buddhist moral concerns, but they tend to bear on the process either attaining enlightenment for oneself or assisting others to do so, and rarely on the organization of society or the legal regulation of conduct within the society.

      Recently, two attempts have been made to forge a connection, however. One...

  9. 5. Postmodern Perspectives

    • NOMADIC SUBJECTS: FEMINIST POSTMODERNISM AS ANTIRELATIVISM
      (pp. 345-362)
      Rosi Braidotti

      In this paper, I will defend a feminist poststructuralist position as a nonrelativist standpoint. This position rests on the assumption, which I shall outline presently, of the historical decline of the classical view of the human subject. By way of introduction, let me say that I see it as one of the historical tasks of feminism to elaborate an epistemological and ethical position that is suitable to postmodernity in a gendered perspective. I would also want to suggest that this position conveys a posthumanist vision of subjectivity as a de-essentialized and historicized entity—a multilayered (not a fixed) phenomenon, more...

    • SUBJECT OF POLITICS, POLITICS OF THE SUBJECT
      (pp. 363-380)
      Ernesto Laclau

      The question of the relationship (complementarity? tension? mutual exclusion?) between universalism and particularism occupies a central place in the current political and theoretical agenda. Universal values are seen either as dead or—at the very least—as threatened. What is more important, the positive character of those values is no longer taken for granted. On the one hand, under the banner of multiculturalism, the classical values of the Enlightenment are under fire and considered little more than the cultural preserve of Western imperialism. On the other hand, the whole debate concerning the end of modernity, the assault on foundationalism in...

    • DEMOCRATIC IDENTITY AND PLURALIST POLITICS
      (pp. 381-394)
      Chantal Mouffe

      In this paper I want to take issue with those who assert that democracy needs rational foundations and that it is by providing such foundations that one will create allegiance to liberal democratic institutions. To criticize rationalism is, for them, to undermine the very basis of democratic citizenship. Hence their rejection of the so-called “postmodern” critique, which is presented as a threat to the democratic project.

      I will argue, on the contrary, that it is only by drawing all of the implications of the critique of essentialism, which constitutes the point of convergence of the antirationalist approach, that it is...

    • THE PHILOSOPHY OF SIGNS AND DEMOCRATIC DISCOURSE: Coincidences between Chinese Pre- and Western Post-Modernity
      (pp. 395-404)
      Hans-Georg Möller

      In this paper I will try to analyze social phenomena from a semiological perspective. Semiotic structures, constructed on the basis of certain explicit or implicit theories of (linguistic) signs, will be discussed in connection with political theories.

      My methodological approach is structuralistic. I will talk about premetaphysical, metaphysical, and postmetaphysical structures and, analogously, about corresponding premodern, modern, and postmodern structures. These stages should not be understood as primarily chronological but rather as logical (or as semio-logical). Therefore, the description is general and based on ideal types.

      In this way, I will first try to show the structural relationship between a...

    • BEYOND EAST AND WEST: POSTMODERN DEMOCRACY IN A MODE OF INFORMATION
      (pp. 405-420)
      James Buchanan

      There is an unspoken but nevertheless widely held belief that the West holds the franchise and distribution rights on liberal democracy. It isourdiscourse and true democracy must proceed according toourforms. This attitude presents problems from at least two perspectives. First, there is the issue of whether or not there are forms of democracy which have developed in other cultures and which, while they may not look like Western forms, need to be included in a general discussion of what we might call “appropriate democracies.” As interesting and important as this is, here I want to focus...

  10. 6. Principles of Cultural Dialogue

    • THE IDEAL OF JUSTICE IN THE CONTEXT OF CULTURAL DIALOGUE
      (pp. 423-430)
      Marietta Stepaniants

      The great integrative processes characterizing the twentieth century lead some people to forecast radical quantitative changes in the life of the world community, up to and including the emergence of a single planetary civilization with a new system of human values. Others, whose projections strike me as more probable, forecast the rise of a metacivilization that will become a kind of a cultural “common denominator,” and which, instead of absorbing or pushing aside national, regional civilizations, will rather stand above all of them. Under any scenario of future developments, it is quite evident that the expansion of contacts and cultural...

    • WORLD CHANGE AND THE CULTURAL SYNTHESIS OF THE WEST
      (pp. 431-442)
      Yersu Kim

      As a century and, indeed, a millennium draw to a close, we stand today perhaps at the most open moment in the history of humankind. The cultural synthesis that it has taken the West well over four hundred years of the departing millennium to forge and which brought power and wealth to the West, but also a pervasive improvement in the material condition of humankind at large during the waning century is losing its once matter-of-fact validity and persuasiveness. The world a hundred years ago was in a very fundamental sense one. The world was ruled by the West—which...

    • JUSTICE AND GLOBAL DEMOCRACY
      (pp. 443-466)
      Fred Dallmayr

      Ours is a time of perplexing cross-currents. As we approach the end of the second millennium, we seem to enter the stage of a newpax Romana—but now on an unprecedented scale: a world order or world civilization, basically of Western design, encircling the globe with a network of universal/ uniform ideas and practices. Among these ideas, easily the most prominent and influential is that of liberal democracy, a regime founded on popular self-determination and equal citizenship rights. Thus the near-providential advance of liberal democracy, apprehended dimly by Tocqueville over a century ago, seems to have reached in our...

  11. CONTRIBUTORS
    (pp. 467-472)
  12. INDEX
    (pp. 473-477)