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date: 24 October 2019

Abstract and Keywords

There seems to be an intimate connection between democracy and freedom. But the nature of this connection is disputed. This chapter outlines possible connections between democracy and freedom. First, it is shown that there is indeed a robust positive correlation between democracy and various forms of liberal freedom. Second, the chapter examines and critiques an argument purporting to show that exercising equal political power in a democracy directly enhances citizens’ autonomy by making them authors of the laws. Third, it examines and critiques the argument that republican democracy is essential to enhancing freedom because it prevents citizens from being dominated. It is argued that we should be skeptical of these latter two positions. Empirically, democratic countries tend to be more free. But there is probably no essential connection between democracy and freedom.

Keywords: democracy, freedom, liberalism, republicanism, autonomy

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