BU Law Event Considers Democratic Failure

The school welcomed interdisciplinary scholars from the American Society for Political and Legal Philosophy to examine the discourse of democracy in the US.

loading slideshow...

For some time, discourse about democracy in the United States and around the world has been marked by concerns about dysfunction, extreme partisanship, and deadlock. More recently, this discourse has taken a darker, even apocalyptic turn, to talk about crisis, failure, or death. What is democratic failure? Does it presuppose a conception of democratic success and of the preconditions for success? How does democratic failure differ from or relate to other political or constitutional maladies, such as dysfunction, crisis, or rot? How might a democracy fail? How might it be saved? The Annual Conference of the American Society for Political and Legal Philosophy attempted to answer these questions at the 2018 conference, organized by the Hon. Paul J. Liacos Professor of Law James Fleming

Three principal papers were presented: “Representation Failure” by political scientist Jane Mansbridge of Harvard University, “Du Bois’s Defense of Democracy” by philosopher Derrick Darby of University of Michigan, and “Democracy as Failure,” by law professor Aziz Z. Huq of University of Chicago. Each paper was commented on by scholars from the other two disciplines. The ASPLP will publish the principal papers and commentaries in NOMOS, its annual book put out by New York University Press (to be edited by Melissa Schwartzberg and Daniel Viehoff).

Anyone interested in political and legal philosophy who wishes to join the ASPLP should contact James E. Fleming, President of the ASPLP (jfleming@bu.edu), or Andrew Valls, Secretary-Treasurer of the ASPLP (theasplp@gmail.com).