Date of Award
Doctor of Philosophy
Authoritarianism is on the rise across the world and intriguingly in the United States, known as the democratic laboratory. Political theorists and activists inquire into this contradictory political phenomenon in the United States, but their inquiries are fruitless. This dissertation finds that they uncritically conceive democracy as a mechanism of governance. As such, this narrow conception hampers their intelligence for political inquiries into the surge of authoritarianism in America. This dissertation discusses why and how the current political phenomenon occurs and suggests a moral method to pursue the quest for democratic values. This method allows inquirers to successfully address the crisis of democracy. This dissertation appeals to John Dewey’s vision of deliberative democracy, comparing and contrasting it with Alasdair MacIntyre’s communitarianism-oriented political theory. It finds that just as the Deweyan democratic vision does, MacIntyre’s political vision of democracy, too, emphasizes citizens’ participation in the political activities of decision-making and policy formulation. For MacIntyre, deliberative and participatory citizens are engaged in small group meetings to resolve their social and political issues. However, his communitarian method falls short of inspiring inquirers who wish to establish meaningful hypotheses to overcome the crisis of democracy: the idea of value plurality that is deemed essential for the political hypotheses is negated to a substantial degree by Thomist humanism held in his later works. MacIntyre’s skeptical attitude toward the methodology of democracy fundamentally based on liberalism and empirical naturalism inhibits political inquiries to discover and apply methods required to resolve the existing political situation in the U.S. By contrast, Dewey provides an appropriate array of philosophical ideas concerning deliberative democracy based on cooperative intelligence for political inquirers. With Dewey’s thought-provoking philosophical ideas, they are prepared to address their recently revived interest in authoritarianism in politics. They open a path towards a way of life that promotes authentic participation and deliberation in public affairs to tackle complex policy issues and bring out human flourishing. On this moral and social path, people demolish authoritarianism. Democratic hope is no longer an unattainable dream.
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