In this dissertation I discuss the tension between social choice and political philosophy. The aim is to explore the possibility of a ‘tolerable Platonism’, a form of political Platonism that can be consistent with a liberal defence of democracy. My starting point is the social choice theory view, namely the liberal justification of democracy elaborated by Riker in Liberalism against Populism. Riker’s analysis is shaped by Arrow’s theorem and around the dichotomy between liberalism and populism. Riker maintains that these are the two main traditions of interpreting democracy and the two contrasting accounts of democratic voting. But Arrow’s theorem is not just the basis for the social choice research program; it is also a fundamental background out of which the more general concerns of contemporary political philosophy about the just institutions grow. The following question drives my discussion: can political philosophy and its account of democracy be contained in Riker’s dichotomy between liberalism and populism? To put the matter more provocatively, and to emphasize the main interest that drives this work: should political philosophy give up to populism? The question aims to engage social choice theory on shared terrain (the passage from individual preferences to collective decision; the connection between method and ideal; the confrontation between market and democracy). The mathematic language in which social choice theory formulates its assessments should not prevent political philosophy from recognising the importance of this account of politics and democracy, and from confronting the controversies that the social choice analysis reveals. Rawls’s program itself might be regarded as an outcome of this confront. This dissertation will not refute Riker’s work or the social choice theory framework that underlies it. The aim is to use Riker’s distinction between liberalism and populism to reflect on the normative commitments of political philosophy; to re-describe the aggregative problem formalised in Arrow’s theorem by using the “idealistic” point of view of political philosophy. If political philosophy does not accept Riker’s distinction and invitation - Riker’s solution seems to call for a ‘positive’ political philosophy, that is, one solely based on criteria of feasibility and weighted toward the method side of the tension between ideals and methods - the challenge is to point out the problems that redound from a rigid discontinuity between the two views. And a first, good argument for this exploration is that some of the most interesting cases of normative political theory propose solutions that mix liberalism and populism (e. g. Mill and Rawls). I do not wish not to minimize the importance of the liberal, anti-tyrannical option but rather to show that a more objectivistic version of liberalism is possible within the anti-tyrannical framework. Following the path drawn by epistemic democracy, I aim to take some steps toward a version of liberalism that is more compatible with populism.

Politics with Romance? : Liberalism and Populism in Political Philosophy / A. Lebano ; A. Lebano. - : . FACOLTA' DI SCIENZE POLITICHE, 2008 Jul 11. ((20. ciclo, Anno Accademico 2007/2008.

Politics with Romance? : Liberalism and Populism in Political Philosophy

A. Lebano
2008

Abstract

In this dissertation I discuss the tension between social choice and political philosophy. The aim is to explore the possibility of a ‘tolerable Platonism’, a form of political Platonism that can be consistent with a liberal defence of democracy. My starting point is the social choice theory view, namely the liberal justification of democracy elaborated by Riker in Liberalism against Populism. Riker’s analysis is shaped by Arrow’s theorem and around the dichotomy between liberalism and populism. Riker maintains that these are the two main traditions of interpreting democracy and the two contrasting accounts of democratic voting. But Arrow’s theorem is not just the basis for the social choice research program; it is also a fundamental background out of which the more general concerns of contemporary political philosophy about the just institutions grow. The following question drives my discussion: can political philosophy and its account of democracy be contained in Riker’s dichotomy between liberalism and populism? To put the matter more provocatively, and to emphasize the main interest that drives this work: should political philosophy give up to populism? The question aims to engage social choice theory on shared terrain (the passage from individual preferences to collective decision; the connection between method and ideal; the confrontation between market and democracy). The mathematic language in which social choice theory formulates its assessments should not prevent political philosophy from recognising the importance of this account of politics and democracy, and from confronting the controversies that the social choice analysis reveals. Rawls’s program itself might be regarded as an outcome of this confront. This dissertation will not refute Riker’s work or the social choice theory framework that underlies it. The aim is to use Riker’s distinction between liberalism and populism to reflect on the normative commitments of political philosophy; to re-describe the aggregative problem formalised in Arrow’s theorem by using the “idealistic” point of view of political philosophy. If political philosophy does not accept Riker’s distinction and invitation - Riker’s solution seems to call for a ‘positive’ political philosophy, that is, one solely based on criteria of feasibility and weighted toward the method side of the tension between ideals and methods - the challenge is to point out the problems that redound from a rigid discontinuity between the two views. And a first, good argument for this exploration is that some of the most interesting cases of normative political theory propose solutions that mix liberalism and populism (e. g. Mill and Rawls). I do not wish not to minimize the importance of the liberal, anti-tyrannical option but rather to show that a more objectivistic version of liberalism is possible within the anti-tyrannical framework. Following the path drawn by epistemic democracy, I aim to take some steps toward a version of liberalism that is more compatible with populism.
BESUSSI, ANTONELLA
MARTELLI, PAOLO
political philosophy ; liberalism
Settore SPS/01 - Filosofia Politica
Settore SPS/04 - Scienza Politica
Politics with Romance? : Liberalism and Populism in Political Philosophy / A. Lebano ; A. Lebano. - : . FACOLTA' DI SCIENZE POLITICHE, 2008 Jul 11. ((20. ciclo, Anno Accademico 2007/2008.
Doctoral Thesis
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/2434/57883
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