Justice, Disagreement, and Democracy

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Is democracy a requirement of justice or an instrument for realizing it? The correct answer to this question, I argue, depends on the background circumstances against which democracy is defended. In the presence of thin reasonable disagreement about justice, we should value democracy only instrumentally (if at all); in the presence of thick reasonable disagreement about justice, we should value it also intrinsically, as a necessary demand of justice. Since the latter type of disagreement is pervasive in real-world politics, I conclude that theories of justice designed for our world should be centrally concerned with democracy.
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Archival date: 2020-05-25
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