Democracy, Instrumentalism, and Power as a Trust: On the Foundations of Political Instrumentalism

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Butler, Andrew
Democracy , Democratic Theory , Justification of Democracy , Political Power , Political Instrumentalism , Democratic Instrumentalism , Distribution of Political Power , Sufficientarianism , Public Trust , Public Trust Instrumentalism
In this dissertation, I explore the theory of political instrumentalism and its application to the justification of democracy. I suggest that because of the dominance of intrinsic accounts of the justification of democracy in contemporary democratic theory, political instrumentalism has been wrongly dismissed or neglected. The result is that serious investigation into the foundations of political instrumentalism has not been widely pursued. I argue that we can find a compelling basis for political instrumentalism in a moralized view of political power as a public trust. I thus argue for a distinctive version of political instrumentalism which I call ‘public trust instrumentalism’. Public trust instrumentalism supports a broadly sufficientarian approach to justifying the distribution of political power, and therefore has important implications for our thinking about the justification of democracy.
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