The Revival of Democratic Theory

The Revival of Democratic Theory

The Revival of Democratic Theory

The Revival of Democratic Theory

Excerpt

In this book I propose to analyze the decline and to suggest a case for the revival of democratic theory. Because democratic theory is a part of political theory it is important initially to understand the reasons for the bankruptcy of political theory in the Western World. Such understanding may suggest not only what must be done to revive political theory in general but also democratic theory in particular.

It is my thesis that the bankruptcy of political theory is attributable to its failure to perform five significant roles. First, political theory has ceased to unify and undergird the discipline of political science. Second, it is no longer ably employed to clarify our political values. Third, it has ceased helpfully to illuminate empirical political reality. Fourth, it is not adequately used to facilitate prudent guidance in political life. And, finally, political theory has failed to assist us in doing more significant normative, empirical, and prudential research. The arguments in support of this thesis will be developed in Chapter 1.

In Chapter 21 attempt to answer the question, Why have we in the modern world lost sight of the five major roles to be performed by political theory, particularly democratic theory? Four major reasons, I will argue, account for this loss of vision. First, we have been so frightened by totalitarian theory that we are leery of employing any kind of theory as a guide to action. Second, we have been intimidated by the belief that only an emphasis on precision of meaning and empirical verification, as illustrated by the "hard" sciences, will lead to a truer and more fruitful political science. Third, we have abandoned the . . .

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