In the video below, Professor Ian Shapiro takes an in-depth look at democracy and its institutions. According to him, democracy is the most successful at delivering on the mature Enlightenment’s twin promises to recognize individual rights as the ultimate political good and to base politics on some kind of commitment to objective knowledge. And interestingly, democracy as a tradition was not made famous by its champions, but rather by its critics. Today, Professor Shapiro guides the class through the writings of Plato, Tocqueville, Madison, and Dahl. He zeroes in specifically on American democracy and such concepts as tyranny of the majority, factionalism, and checks and balances.
Read a transcript of Professor Shapiro’s lecture here.