Pragmatism: Enlightenment thought in a pluralist democracy

Lori Anderson, Patrick Bishop

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Abstract

Enlightenment thought emerged in a time of autocratic rule. Philosophes Voltaire and
Diderot sought unsuccessfully to influence monarchs such as the Emperor Frederick
and Catherine the Great. While the U.S. Constitution was influenced by Enlightenment
ideas designed to curtail autocracy, such as Montesquieu’s doctrine of the separation
of powers, the founding U.S. government, while not autocratic, was still government
by elites. Public reason emerges through the more conducive institutions and practices
of democracy. This paper identifies elements of Enlightenment thought in the
Pragmatist school’s reflection of an emerging pluralist democracy that democratizes
Enlightenment hopes of the exercise of public reason.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationMidwest Political Science Association (MPSA) Conference 2013 Papers
Place of PublicationChicago Illinois USA
Publication statusPublished - 5 Apr 2013
EventMidwest Political Science Association (MPSA) Conference - Chicago , Chicago, United States
Duration: 1 Apr 20135 Apr 2013

Conference

ConferenceMidwest Political Science Association (MPSA) Conference
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CityChicago
Period1/04/135/04/13

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