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Democracy and Human Freedom

  • Howard Williams
Chapter

Abstract

Anyone embarking on the discussion of a topic as complex as democracy and human freedom must expect to come up with more problems than answers. In the first place the meaning of both terms is so hotly contested that it is hard to arrive at mutually agreed definitions which might allow a clear debate to proceed. Everyone has their own view of both democracy and freedom, informed, misinformed or even deformed. Quite often the possibility that an individual’s conception of democracy or freedom is based upon an incomplete understanding of either or both does not prevent individuals from wishing to implement their conceptions. Often, the reverse is the case. The misinformed individual may nonetheless be determined to implement his or her incomplete view. The desire to reduce complexity may lead to the most drastic efforts at implementation! Secondly, even if some measure of agreement can be obtained about the meanings of the separate terms of democracy and freedom complete anarchy may nonetheless characterize the attempts to combine or reconcile the two.

Keywords

International Relation Political Theory Human Freedom Participatory Democracy Political Arrangement 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Notes

  1. 1.
    H. Williams, International Relations in Political Theory, Open University Press, Milton Keynes, 1991, p. 94Google Scholar
  2. 4.
    I. Berlin, Four Essays on Liberty, Oxford University Press, Oxford, 1975, pp. 122–35Google Scholar
  3. 5.
    N. Barry, An Introduction to Modern Political Theory, Macmillan, London, 1989, pp. 202–9CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. 6.
    J. S. Mill, On Liberty, Oxford University Press, Oxford, 1971, p. 18Google Scholar
  5. 9.
    I. Kant, Metaphysics of Morals, tr. M. Gregor, Cambridge University Press, 1992, pp.69–70. Akademie Ausgabe, VI, p. 238Google Scholar
  6. 10.
    D. Held, Models of Democracy Polity Press, Oxford, 1987, pp. vii–ixGoogle Scholar
  7. 11.
    D. Held, ‘From City-states to a Cosmopolitan Order’, in Prospects for Democracy, ed. D. Held, Oxford, 1992Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Howard Williams 1996

Authors and Affiliations

  • Howard Williams
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of International PoliticsUniversity of WalesAberystwythUK

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