Skepticism and Political Participation by Aryeh Botwinick

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Synopsis

Aryeh Botwinick argues for the recovery of a radical democratic tradition that emphasizes the role of individual participation in the development and control of social and political institutions. Such involvement implies philosophical skepticism—the assumption that the truth about what is the best course of action cannot be known with certainty and that, therefore, every person’s opinion has an equal claim to be considered. The crucial stumbling block to reappropriating this radical egalitarian tradition is the supposed unviability of a consistent skepticism. In an effort to chart a new course of philosophical inquiry into political matters, Botwinick grapples with the formulation of a consistent version of skepticism, claiming that it provides "a continually renewing impetus for the expansion of political participation."

Twentieth-century philosophers have, for the most part, opted for some version of mitigated skepticism, which, the author argues, "has blinded them to the radical political implications of skepticism." Underscoring a pattern of convergence between Anglo-American and Continental philosophy, Botwinick proposes a number of strategies to rehabilitate the rationality of participatory democratic political institutions by articulating an acceptable version of consistent skepticism.

 

About Aryeh Botwinick

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Aryeh Botwinick is professor of political science at Temple University. He is the author of "Skepticism, Belief, and the Modern"; "Postmodernism and Democratic Theory"; and "Skepticism and Political Participation.
 
Published January 18, 1990 by Temple University Press. 264 pages
Genres: Political & Social Sciences, Law & Philosophy. Non-fiction

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