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Public Defense of Zsolt Kapelner on "Ruling together: An account of the value of democracy"

Monday, January 17, 2022, 3:30 pm – 6:30 pm

The Department of Philosophy cordially invites you to the Public Defense of the PhD Dissertation

Zsolt Kapelner (PhD candidate, Department of Philosophy) on "Ruling together: An account of the value of democracy"

Members of the Defense Committee:

Supervisor: Zoltán Miklósi (CEU)
External examiner:
Daniel Viehoff (NYU)
Internal Examiner: J
ános Kis (CEU)
Chair: Michael Griffin (CEU)


In this dissertation I address the problem of the value of democracy which concerns the question of why, if at all, democracy should be valued, respected, and generally preferred to alternative regime types. There are two main sorts of answers to this question in the literature, namely, instrumentalist and non-instrumentalist ones. Instrumentalists argue that democracy is valuable only as a means to attain some valuable ends, while non-instrumentalists hold that democracy is also valuable for its own sake. I defend a novel non-instrumentalist position based on what I call the service value of democracy. I argue that democracy’s value lies in that it allows citizens to exercise their agency to advance one another’s good by enlisting them in the collective project of ruling the polity justly together. This establishes a relationship of mutual service among them which is a self-standing source of value. Democracy enables citizens to relate as moral agents acting for one another’s sake by shaping the fundamental norms of interaction of social cooperation in a reciprocal manner. Democratic citizens do not simply coexist under just laws but are called upon to actively engage in establishing justice for one another. 

Zoom details:
Meeting ID: 920 0961 9230
Passcode: 011246