Representative Democracy

In this Wireless Philosophy video, Geoff Pynn (Elgin Community College) talks about the idea of representative democracy, a system in which democratic citizens vote for representatives who make complex policy decisions on their behalf. But how democratic is a representative democracy, really? One of John Stuart Mill’s arguments in defense of representative democracy vs. direct democracy is that it addresses Plato’s concern about the qualifications of ordinary citizens to make wise policy decisions, but still promotes democratic citizenship, which benefits society as a whole. How then can we ensure that elected representatives really do serve the public interest?

Assistant Professor of Philosophy at Elgin Community College

I work at Northern Illinois University. I teach on a wide range of topics. My research centers on epistemology. I’m also interested in creating connections between professional philosophers and ordinary people.

From 2011-2017, I was the the graduate adviser for NIU’s successful MA program in philosophy. I maintain a listing of funding at MA programs in the US and Canada.

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