A1 Journal article – refereed
Kelsen on Democracy and Majority Decision

List of Authors: Eerik Lagerspetz
Publisher: Franz Steiner Verlag
Place: Stuttgart
Publication year: 2017
Journal: Archiv für Rechts- und Sozialphilosophie
Volume number: 103
Issue number: 2
Number of pages: 25
eISSN: 2363-5614


paper explicates some aspects of Hans Kelsen’s defence of democracy. Kelsen’s
aim was to formulate a realistic normative alternative to the democratic ideal derived
from Rousseau. He provided two, independent arguments for majoritarian
democracy. First, the validity of majority principle could be derived from
epistemological relativism. Second,  majority
principle maximized individual liberty. The latter argument is based on
Kelsen’s own definition of liberty as a correspondence between an individual
will and the ruling norms. This argument could be interpreted as reasoning
based on a hypothetical contract. The most important critiques of majoritarian
proceduralism are based on (1) the problem of the possibility of democratic
self-destruction, (2) the problem of the democratic origins of democracy and (3) the problem of the possibility  of permanent majorities. Kelsen had a
convincing answer to problems, (1) and (2). The problem of permanent majorities
is more difficult to solve.  Ultimately,
Kelsen is forced to abandon his purely proceduralistic starting point.

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Last updated on 2019-20-07 at 13:52