An analysis of the concept and principles of democracy

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An analysis of the concept and principles of democracy

While utopian political philosophers argue that correct political institutions can transform human nature into something more desirable or virtuous than its An analysis of the concept and principles of democracy state, Spinoza instead commences with a contrarian conviction, by and large rejecting such a possibility.

Interpretation of the Conatus Principle Human nature, according to Spinoza, must be studied and understood just like the nature of any other organism in the universe, in the following sense; human beings are subsumed in nature along with all other natural organisms and cannot thus transcend, and are therefore subject to, natural laws.

This includes our nature as physiological beings and as psychological and cognitive beings. Furthermore, the laws of nature are to be understood, according to Spinoza, in a non-teleological fashion. Instead, the most fundamental principle guiding all organisms, and therefore also human beings is what Spinoza calls the Conatus Principle: Each thing, as far as it can by its own power, strives to persevere in being.

P6 While it is not immediately obvious how Spinoza intends to support this principle when it comes to the kinds of organisms called human beings—particularly in the context of political philosophy—it later becomes clear that the principle, in its current and descriptive, form, is intended epistemologically as an a priori analytic proposition, or a necessary truth: Since reason demands nothing contrary to Nature, it demands that everyone love himself, seek his own advantage, what is really useful to him, want what will really lead a man to greater perfection, and absolutely, that everyone should strive to preserve his own being as far as he can.

This, indeed, is as necessarily true as that the whole is greater than its part. P18S Hence, the Conatus principle, when applied in the context of human beings, appears to describe human beings as egoistic beings. This, as stated, is intended as a truth not based upon empirical observation or self-reflection, but put forth as a necessary truth—a truth as necessary as the truth that the whole is greater than its part.

According to the descriptive interpretation of the principle E: P6we are necessarily egoistic creatures. However, the quoted passage from E: This position is known as ethical egoism since it urges us to be egoists rather than describing us as already being egoists.

Now, if both of these interpretations of the Conatus Principle are plausible, then we need an answer to the following question: If the descriptive interpretation tells us that we are necessarily actuated by the Principle, then why bother prescribing this action as desirable?

That is, if we already necessarily act in accordance with the descriptive version of the Conatus Principle, then why are we also urged to act this way? Urging us to do something we already necessarily do is surely redundant. One way out of this dilemma might be to say that the prescriptive version of the Conatus Principle is necessary because we do not, in fact, in all circumstances, act in accordance with our self-interest.

Because we do not do so, Spinoza is urging us to do so. This interpretation would certainly be in agreement with the empirical reality of human motivations. We certainly do not always act in ways that are conducive to the sustenance and enhancement of our being.

Surely Spinoza was aware of such actions. But if this is true, then why advance the descriptive version of the Conatus Principle at all? But Spinoza does not, as we have seen, advance the principle as an a posteriori truth, but as an a priori truth.

Hence offering empirical counterexamples appears to be beside the point, and offering this way out of the dilemma will thus not do. But if it is indeed true, that we do not always act in accordance with our self-interest, then just what is the force and the meaning of the a priori descriptive version of the Conatus principle?

Perhaps the solution is to say that the prescriptive version of the Conatus principle is intended to us human beings as empirical, affective beings while the descriptive version of the principle is intended for what humanity could look like, if ideally rational.

So, on this reading, Spinoza is urging us to act according to the dictates of ethical egoism since we, as empirical beings primarily motivated by our desires, sometimes fail to do so.

This does not change the fact that we do act according to the principles of self-interest more often than not; it simply means that we do not always know what is in our best interest—since we are not ideally rational. If this is plausible, then the descriptive version of the principle could indeed be interpreted as a metaphysical truth necessarily true for ideal humans, and not as a psychological truth.

Fully rational individuals will never fail to seek whatever aids or enhances their being. But this would not be the case for beings like us, who need to be exhorted into self-interested behavior. If this is correct, the descriptive version of the principle describes human beings in their ideal state while the prescriptive version of the principle is designed for humans in their current state.

Therefore, it is the prescriptive version of the Conatus Principle that is mainly of importance for the purposes of political philosophy. Ethical Egoism and the Salience of Passions If the prescriptive interpretation of the Conatus Principle is correct for all imperfect human beings, then Spinoza is pressing us to act in accordance with our best interests.

This is not, however, tantamount to telling us to act selfishly or to see ourselves as individualistic, non-social beings. And the reason why humans do not see what is in their best interests is due to the centrality of passions in their very being: But human nature is framed in a different fashion:Essay about Basic Principles of Democracy.

Words Oct 22nd, 4 Pages. Show More. The United States of America has five basic principles which ensure the ability of the country.

Representative democracy - Wikipedia

The basic foundations: fundamental worth, equality of all persons, majority rule minority rights, necessity of compromise, and ividual freedom. This paper reviews. A critical analysis of the concept of ‘democracy’ in Africa with particular reference to majoritarianism and the African countries in abiding with some of the principles of the concept of democracy.

Thus, the paper also examines some of the difficulties encountered in democratisation of Africa. Nevertheless, the author of the paper. Benedict de Spinoza: Political Philosophy. The body of Benedict de Spinoza’s writings on political philosophy in the 17th century should be seen as a paradigmatic species of European Enlightenment Philosophy.

Spinoza rejected the teleological account of human nature and its implications to political societies in favor of rational, scientific understanding with its contractual implications. Avram Noam Chomsky (born December 7, ) is an American linguist, His analysis included a critique that attributed Occupy's growth as a response to a perceived abandonment of the interests of the white working class by the Democratic Party.

holding that the principles underlying the structure of language are biologically . 40 (Volume 20, No. 1) March, Introduction by The Editors. SOCIALISM AND DEMOCRACY AT Frank Rosengarten – Looking Back in Order to Look Ahead: Twenty Years of Research and Publishing by the Research Group on Socialism and Democracy Victor Wallis – Socialism and Democracy During the First 20 Years of Socialism and Democracy.


An analysis of the concept and principles of democracy

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