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Title: A lockean approach to examining the development and sustainability of contemporary democracies
Author: Ramírez i Simon, Wendy
Director/Tutor: Monserrat i Molas, Josep, 1967-
Keywords: Liberalisme
Estats Units d'Amèrica
Locke, John, 1632-1704
United States
Locke, John, 1632-1704
Issue Date: 11-Jan-2016
Publisher: Universitat de Barcelona
Abstract: [eng] The ultimate goal of this work is to contribute to the contemporary debate over the crisis of nowadays Western liberal democracies. We approach the debate from the perspective of political philosophy. We contend that in order to provide a more helpful and insightful contribution to the topic, we must focus on providing a deeper understanding of the present situation. We put forth the idea that the conception of political order changed altogether during modernity, with John Locke as its main theorist. In order to justify this assumption, we first review what we hold to be the theoretical foundation for the typically modern natural rights liberal approach politics, i.e., that of John Locke. Following that, we open a new chapter in our dissertation in which we begin to focus on the United States of America’s founding. We labeled this specific way of making politics, this combination of liberal and Lockean theory and practice, as the “liberal-lockean approach politics”. First we look at Thomas Jefferson through the Declaration of Independence of 1776 to discover those revolutionary elements that were appealing to the entire humanity and were not restricted only to the American patriots. We try to disclose the essential role that man’s rights played in the Jeffersonian political thinking and we then analyze in which exact way were those rights of man different to any other rights prior to that time. Lastly, we examine the Declaration in terms of the Lockean connections we discover within it. We review concepts such as government, property, inalienability… that have a crucial role in the constitution of America and can be traced, from our point of view, directly to the liberal theory of John Locke. Once we believed to have exposed the nature of the political-philosophical development in modernity, i.e., liberal democracies, we turn to observe the political-philosophical understanding of those concepts in the present time. We take the Spanish Constitution of 1978 and inspect those concepts that are most relevant for its understanding as a contemporary liberal democracy. While clarifying the conceptual implications that Spain’s core values have for liberal democracy, we also make comparative notes on the side regarding its relation to the modern -American- take on liberal democracies. The product of this analysis constitutes the final chapter of the work. In it, we feel like it is possible to distinguish certain differences between modern democracies and contemporary ones, yet we discover that this distinction is not so much substantive as it is formal. We contend there that there has been a misplacement of where the conflict really lies nowadays in liberal democracies. The tendency is to believe there is a deficiency within the very philosophy supporting liberalism and therefore its democracies, and that leads to questions such as should another kind of democracy better satisfy the of our contemporary culture? Or, is liberalism still an efficient way to justify and arrange political communities? From our point of view, the problem is not necessarily in the philosophy sustaining liberal democracies, but it could be. In other words, liberal democracies are not in and of themselves a philosophical doctrine capable of sustaining the political order on their own; nevertheless, nowadays, they might have become just that. In our final conclusion we use John Rawls’ categories to try to express how we can better understand the mix-up between a popular liberal political consensus on one hand and philosophical doctrines (liberal or otherwise) on the other and we suggest that by making this difference clear we can already consider ourselves to be moving forward when it comes to clarifying our political systems. If we wish to keep making steps in the right direction –as we aim at justifying here- we must continue by giving relevance to those philosophical systems that can return to liberalism its substance, and therefore, its reason for being.
Appears in Collections:Tesis Doctorals - Departament - Filosofia Teorètica i Pràctica

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