Justifying democracy and its authority

  • Ivan Mladenović Faculty of Philosophy, University of Belgrade


In this paper I will discuss a recent attempt of justifying democracy and its authority. It pertains to recently published papers by Niko Kolodny, which complement each other and taken together practically assume a form of a monograph (Kolodny 2014a, Kolodny 2014b). It could be said that Kolodny’s approach is a non-standard one given that he avoids typical ways of justifying democracy. Namely, when a justification of democracy is concerned, Kolodny maintains that it is necessary to offer a kind of an independent justification. It is not so much that he insists that the usual approaches are wrong as much as that an independent justification is necessary in order to discern what it is that gives them their significance. Kolodny’s independent justification of democracy is based on the idea of social equality. In this paper I will try to reconstruct and critically assess Kolodny’s approach by paying special attention to the question of democratic authority.


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Christiano, Thomas (2008), The Constitution of Equality: Democratic Authority and Its Limits. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Estlund, David M. (2008), Democratic Authority: A Philosophical Framework. Princeton and Oxford: Princeton University Press.

Kolodny, Niko (2014a), „Rule Over None I: What Justifies Democracy?“, Philosophy &Public Affairs 42: 195–229.

Kolodny, Niko (2014b), „Rule Over None II: Social Equality and the Justification of Democracy“, Philosophy & Public Affairs 42: 287–336.

Mill, John Stuart (1861/1977), „Considerations on Representative Government“, in: Collected Works of John Stuart Mill, Vol. XIX: Essays on Politics and Society.

Toronto, London: University of Toronto Press, Routledge and Kegan Paul, pp. 371–577.
How to Cite
MLADENOVIĆ, Ivan. Justifying democracy and its authority. Filozofija i društvo / Philosophy and Society, [S.l.], v. 27, n. 4, p. 739-748, dec. 2016. ISSN 2334-8577. Available at: <http://journal.instifdt.bg.ac.rs/index.php?journal=fid&page=article&op=view&path%5B%5D=457>. Date accessed: 23 sep. 2017. doi: https://doi.org/10.2298/FID1604739M.