Skip to main content

Democracy Defended and Challenged

Thursday, April 13, 2017, 5:30 pm – 7:00 pm

DATE / Thursday / April 13, 2017
TIME / 5:30 p.m. / reception to follow
PLACE / Nador utca 15. / AUDITORIUM a

The President and Rector cordially invites you to the President's Seminar

Democracy Defended and Challenged

WELCOME / Michael Ignatieff, President and Rector, CEU
SPEAKER / Thomas Christiano, Professor of Philosophy and Law, University of Arizona

ABSTRACT / Democracy has been challenged by various authors recently invoking the rationality of  voter ignorance.  It is suggested that since voters are and have reason to be ignorant, democracy cannot possibly live up to the standards set for it.  I propose to show that the criticisms fall short in important ways both in terms of normative theory and in terms of the understanding of how democratic institutions work.  Voter ignorance is not randomly distributed in society, which is what we would expect from these theories.  Instead it tracks important social and economic realities.  The challenge posed by voter ignorance is not to shut down democracy but to strengthen its institutions.  I will pursue two areas in which democracy is experiencing significant weaknesses lately: working class voting and international politics.  And I will examine some ways of improving democratic societies. 

Please register for the event by April 11 using the form at the following link:

This event is part of the President's Seminar series, an element of the Re-thinking Open Society project.