Philosophy Dictionary of Arguments

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Democracy: Democracy is a system of government in which the people have the power to choose their leaders and make decisions about how they are governed. It is based on the principles of equality, freedom, and participation.
Annotation: The above characterizations of concepts are neither definitions nor exhausting presentations of problems related to them. Instead, they are intended to give a short introduction to the contributions below. – Lexicon of Arguments.

Author Concept Summary/Quotes Sources

Ernst-Wolfgang Böckenförde on Democracy - Dictionary of Arguments

Brocker I 782
Democracy/Böckenförde: representative democracy is not only the form required in the territorial state for technical reasons, but also the form superior to direct democracy for reasons of legitimation theory (BöckenfördeVsRousseau). See Legitimation/Böckenförde
BöckenfördeVsDirect Democracy: For him, the idea of an undistorted determination of the will of the people, which is not influenced by procedures, is misleading because it ignores the reality of political contexts for action. Even in the case of direct-democratic decisions on the merits, it depends on the respective procedures. In any case, it requires the organization of domination. (1)
Decision/Böckenförde: all political decision making depends on procedures.
Brocker I 783
Democracy/People/Schmitt/Böckenförde: Böckenförde uses Carl Schmitt's idea that democracy refers to the people as a political community. (2)
Unity/People/Hermann Heller/Böckenförde: with Heller, Böckenförde comes to the thesis: a unit of effect and action that unites a group of people comes about through organizational processes that only align, coordinate and bring the multiple human actions and behaviors into a certain pattern of action in a certain way. (3) The state authorities (Heller speaks of "governing bodies" ((s) source not given)), which in a sense precede the many. (4)
This means that in democracy the people can only rule by means of a ruling organization.
Power/Hermann Heller/Böckenförde: Heller: "Every organization needs (...) an authority and all exercise of power is subject to the law of small numbers; always those who update the organizationally united power performances must have
Brocker I 784
some degree of freedom of choice and thus democratically unattached power." (H. Heller, quoted (5))
Problem: those in power must be accountable to the people and bound to democratic control. (6)
Democracy/Böckenförde: is a demanding form of order in so far as it is based on conditions that precede the constitution and are not self-evident.
People/Böckenförde: must be supported by "homogeneity" i.e. there must be a "similarity" that "can be given by common religion, common language and culture, common political confession". (7)
Homogeneity/BöckenfördeVsSchmitt: Böckenförde does not see homogeneity as a counter term to plurality as Carl Schmitt represented it in National Socialism. (See Democracy/Schmitt).
VsBöckenförde: after criticism of his choice of words, Böckenförde changed the concept of "similarity" to that of "commonness". He writes an explanatory note on this. (8)
Relative homogeneity/solution/Böckenförde: the socio-economic differences must not be so extreme that irreconcilable conflicts of interest arise. Therefore, the state has a moderating function in market relations. See Citizens/Böckenförde.

1. Ernst-Wolfgang Böckenförde, Staat – Verfassung – Demokratie. Studien zur Verfassungstheorie und zum Verfassungsrecht, Frankfurt/M. 1992 (zuerst 1991), p. 382-386
2. Ibid. p. 332
3. Ibid. p. 386
4. Ibid. p. 387
5. Ibid. p. 387
6. Ibid. p. 388
7. Ibid. p. 333
8. Ernst-Wolfgang Böckenförde „Demokratie als Verfassungsprinzip“, in: Josef Isensee/Paul Kirchhof (Hg.) Handbuch des Staatsrechts der Bundesrepublik Deutschland, Bd 2. Heidelberg 2004 p. 461, FN 106

Tine Stein, „Ernst-Wolfgang Böckenförde, Staat – Verfassung- Demokratie“, in: Manfred Brocker (Ed.) Geschichte des politischen Denkens. Das 20. Jahrhundert. Frankfurt/M. 2018

Explanation of symbols: Roman numerals indicate the source, arabic numerals indicate the page number. The corresponding books are indicated on the right hand side. ((s)…): Comment by the sender of the contribution. Translations: Dictionary of Arguments
The note [Concept/Author], [Author1]Vs[Author2] or [Author]Vs[term] resp. "problem:"/"solution:", "old:"/"new:" and "thesis:" is an addition from the Dictionary of Arguments. If a German edition is specified, the page numbers refer to this edition.

Böckenf I
Ernst-Wolfgang Böckenförde
State, Society and Liberty: Studies in Political Theory and Constitutional Law, London 1991
German Edition:
Staat, Gesellschaft, Freiheit. Studien zur Staatstheorie und zum Verfassungsrecht Frankfurt 1976

Brocker I
Manfred Brocker
Geschichte des politischen Denkens. Das 20. Jahrhundert Frankfurt/M. 2018

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Ed. Martin Schulz, access date 2024-02-21
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