Meaning and the Problem of Universals, A Kant-Friesian Approach One of the most durable and intractable issues in the history of philosophy has been the problem of universals. Closely related to this, and a major subject of debate in 20th century philosophy, has been the problem of the nature of the meaning. The problem of universals goes back to Plato and Aristotle.
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Of course, this does not describe our reality. You may opt out or contact us anytime. We Americans live in a republic, whose laws are made by public officials in whom citizens invest power and authority, legitimating their power over the citizens who are governed.
Citizens vote for their representatives, but there is often little relation between what citizens vote for and what their representatives do. Thus, President Lyndon B. Johnson campaigned on a peace platform in ; George W.
The First Amendment grants citizens freedom of speech and religion, but those rights are extended only as far as is accepted by agents of the three branches of government. White supremacists can demonstrate in Charlottesville and the University of Virginia, but protesters at the Republican National Convention are put in pens far from the convention hall.
For few actually advocate programs that politically empower the people, and they often disregard the preferences of citizens. But the trouble with democracy transcends contradictions between words and deeds or citizens and their representatives.
A fog blurs the meaning of democracy, especially when it is invoked to describe our political order. But that fog reveals a real question—is democracy a beneficial political order or merely a linguistic honey? In my scholarship, I have found that confusion about democracy stems from the misunderstood and opaque relationship between democracy and ideas of goodness, especially goodness as it relates to common and public affairs.
Practical roots of this misunderstanding recur to the American founding.
The drafters of the American Constitution did not intend to create a democracy—thus, the Electoral College and the Senate although having two houses of Congress can have democratic benefits. As the nation extended suffrage and abolished slavery and segregation, the political question became how democratic should the republic become.
Americans may wonder whether greater democracy is even desirable, since few in the echelons of society that dominate public communications and our capitalist economy are prone to entrust more power to the many who are often seen as uncouth—incapable of political judgment and likely to threaten their positions.
While anti-democratic thought often stems from prejudices of one kind or another, it actually is true that democracy does not inherently provide an automatic guide for just political action.
Democracy is not automatically just, because the demos is not automatically right. This is not a uniquely democratic foible; human beings are fallible. It was not a majority of the American citizenry that favored or fought for slavery; it was not a majority of the French citizenry that authorized the Reign of Terror; it was not a majority of the German citizenry that elected Hitler.
Besides this historical truth, political action in democracies and all other political orders occurs amid conditions of uncertainty.
When citizens engage political dilemmas, they have reason to wonder exactly what the two conceptual pillars of democracy—freedom and equality— mean. How are we to put political equality into practice, if we do not seek sameness? This critique puts a moral and intellectual burden on the understanding and practice of democratic citizenship and governance: How can one be sure that becoming more democratic means that society and its citizenry will become better?
These questions of how and whether democracy produces goodness are serious and longstanding. Since its inception, democratic activity has needed ethical compasses to enable citizens who make decisions to do so beneficially, for the public as a whole.
But there is no single intellectual or practical source for these compasses. Citizens may believe in God or think reasonably, but there is no God or Reason or website or algorithm that identifies the needs of democracy. We are not born with these virtues and practical skills.
And yet everyone can learn the basic skills of political navigation, given the requisite general education and political experience.
Every instance of democratic not Democratic opposition to republican not Republican rule needs to justify not only greater kratos for the demos but also political movement in a beneficial direction that reaches out persuasively to opponents.Brandi Anderson is an 8th grade student at Warner Christian Academy in South Daytona Beach, Florida, and was the winner of the AMVETS Post ’s “What Freedom Means to Me” Essay Contest.
Brandi and her family were guests of Freedom Alliance at the Hannity Freedom Concert in Orlando, Florida, in .
In the last few years, America has undergone a significant cultural change. Previously, almost no criticism of the media reached the public, except for some of the .
Existentialism (/ ˌ ɛ ɡ z ɪ ˈ s t ɛ n ʃ əl ɪ z əm /) is a tradition of philosophical inquiry associated mainly with certain 19th and 20th-century European philosophers who, despite profound doctrinal differences, shared the belief that philosophical thinking begins with the human subject—not merely the thinking subject, but the acting, feeling, living human individual.
Try Our Friends At: The Essay Store. Free English School Essays. We have lots of essays in our essay database, so please check back here frequently to see the newest additions. Man’s Search for Meaning was first published in German in , just one year after the end of the Second World War and the liberation of its author, psychologist Viktor Emil Frankl, from a Nazi.
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