Addams's Radical Democracy: Moving Beyond Rights

Addams's Radical Democracy: Moving Beyond Rights University of Southern Indiana To attain individual morality in an age demanding social morality, to pride one's self on the results of personal effort when the time demands social adjustment, is utterly to fail to apprehend the situation. (Addams 1902, 6) One of the challenges of exploring Addams's social philosophy is that she, like her contemporary, John Dewey, does not fit neatly into established categories of political thought. Addams promotes social morality not at the exclusion of individual morality, but as its natural progression and complement. I will suggest that Addams, while not disdaining rights-based ethics, finds the approach insufficient to the morality needed for a dynamic democracy. As Addams describes it, "democracy like any other of the living faiths of men, is so essentially mystical that it continually demands new formulation" (Addams 1909, 146). Part of that reformulation is the discursive move beyond static notions of isolated individuals who are endowed with rights to considerations of citizens' responsibilities for others as part of an active and rich notion of public interest. In developing Addams's radical notion of democracy, I will first explore how she delineates "old style" classical liberal democracy from her preferred concept of social democracy. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png The Journal of Speculative Philosophy Penn State University Press

Addams's Radical Democracy: Moving Beyond Rights

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Publisher
Penn State University Press
Copyright
Copyright © 2004 by the Pennsylvania State University.
ISSN
1527-9383
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

University of Southern Indiana To attain individual morality in an age demanding social morality, to pride one's self on the results of personal effort when the time demands social adjustment, is utterly to fail to apprehend the situation. (Addams 1902, 6) One of the challenges of exploring Addams's social philosophy is that she, like her contemporary, John Dewey, does not fit neatly into established categories of political thought. Addams promotes social morality not at the exclusion of individual morality, but as its natural progression and complement. I will suggest that Addams, while not disdaining rights-based ethics, finds the approach insufficient to the morality needed for a dynamic democracy. As Addams describes it, "democracy like any other of the living faiths of men, is so essentially mystical that it continually demands new formulation" (Addams 1909, 146). Part of that reformulation is the discursive move beyond static notions of isolated individuals who are endowed with rights to considerations of citizens' responsibilities for others as part of an active and rich notion of public interest. In developing Addams's radical notion of democracy, I will first explore how she delineates "old style" classical liberal democracy from her preferred concept of social democracy.

Journal

The Journal of Speculative PhilosophyPenn State University Press

Published: Aug 23, 2004

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