The Deontological Defense of Democracy: An Argument from Group Rights

Andrew Altman, Christopher Wellmon

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    4 Citations (Scopus)


    Democracy is regularly heralded as the only form of government that treats political subjects as free and equal citizens. On closer examination,however, it becomes apparent that democracy unavoidably restricts individual freedom, and it is not the only way to treat all citizens equally.In light of these observations, we argue that the non-instrumental reasonsto support democratic governance stem, not from considerations of individual freedom or equality, but instead from the importance of respecting group self-determination. If this is correct, it implies that a state may choose democracy, but its right to self-determination means that it is also free, in principle, to decide in favor of some nondemocratic alternative.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)279-293
    Number of pages15
    JournalPacific Philosophical Quarterly
    Issue number3
    Publication statusPublished - 2008


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