Democracy – The Power of Illusion

by Stanislaw Filipowicz (Author)
©2013 Monographs 235 Pages
Series: Ius, Lex et Res Publica, Volume 2


Democracy – hope or illusion? Blooming, failing or declining? Our doubts and hesitation make part of unbending efforts to endorse and explain democracy. Who is right – the custodians of promise or the prophets of decline? The book concentrates on doubts. The author tries to explore «the other side of the moon», emphasizing the role of critical thinking, opposing a main-current optimism. Defending democracy we want to generate hope, but hoping may be a dangerous craft. Protecting our hope we are prone to believe that democracy – even if it is not a full success story – is justified in its nature and out of question. How much do we have to forget to sanction this view? This is, in fact, the main question the book raises. It gives voice to those who never, in their writing on democracy, used a flattering tone. Starting with Greek giants – Plato and Aristotle – up to modern and most recent times, going through a broad field of revealing criticism, leaving us with an unsettling feeling that democracy is rather something to be explained than something to be celebrated. Living in democracy, lamenting its underperformances, we must not overlook a fundamental question – in what part do our disappointments reflect the «art of forgetting», allowing us to cast into oblivion all serious doubts originating in a critical discourse on modernity and democracy?


ISBN (Hardcover)
Publication date
2013 (August)
logic of the Enlightenment public discourse new mythology shrinking legitimacy Late modernity
Frankfurt am Main, Berlin, Bern, Bruxelles, New York, Oxford, Wien, 2013. 235 pp.

Biographical notes

Stanislaw Filipowicz (Author)

Stanisław Filipowicz is professor of Warsaw University and corresponding member of Polish Academy of Sciences. His research work concentrates on history of political ideas and political philosophy. Author of many books and publications addressing the main currents of liberal thinking, exploring the patterns of rationality originating in the tradition of the Enlightenment and investigating their decay. Recently, his focus is shifting towards the field of study embracing challenges posed by the erosion of classical (modern) patterns of democracy.


Title: Democracy – The Power of Illusion