Edited By Dilek Arlı Çil and Nihal Petek Boyaci
The social and technological developments, social movements, scientific discoveries, economic growth or diseconomies give rise to many problems for human beings. Many disciplines such as economics, political science, architecture, sociology and psychology discuss these problems and offer solutions from different perspectives. Philosophy has its own way of dealing with these problems. As opposed to the common belief, philosophy does not only deal with ideals independently of what is going on in real life. The problems of the contemporary philosophy are also the problems of the contemporary world. For this reason, this book aims to present and discuss certain philosophical problems in the contemporary world and to suggest solutions to them.
Spinoza’s Conception of Democracy Based on Knowledge and Morality
Today, democracy is not only a form of government; it is also a system of cultural values. So, the democratic viewpoint is more important than a form of government in which all the people of a country can vote to elect their representatives. A respectful society debates its own problems effectively. In each society, cultural development fosters respect. Spinoza, too, did not think that democracy was the only form of government, but, for him, at the same time democracy is a form of life based on morality and knowledge.
Spinoza believed in the direct democratic system in ancient Greece. In that system, all people could participate in public life. So, they could debate all the problems easily because the social demography of ancient Greece was convenient. Today, the world’s population is growing continuously. Problems are more complex than in times past. In today’s democracies, representative quality is more important than we have expected. Not even Socrates and Plato believed in direct democracy. Their concerns were only with the quality of governing and governed people. That is why, in governments of Politeia Aristotle even thought that ordinary people, like craftsmen, should be given ineffective missions.
On that point, David Miller’s question is interesting: “So how are we to explain the low levels of political knowledge and political interest that most citizens in democratic societies show when interviewed or surveyed” (Miller, 2003: 47)? In our century, people are only restricting themselves to narrow...
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