Philosophy

Does Democracy Work? **FULL**

Stanislaus Husi, Assistant Professor

Course: Phil 192, Sem 001
Class Number: 22449
Credits: 3/HU
Day/Time: MW 11:00 – 12:15 pm
Place: Curtin B12

Course Description

Democracy always had its share of critics. Yet recently, the criticism has intensified. An increasing number of studies casts doubt on whether democracy works, resulting in titles such as “Democracy for Realists,” “The Myth of the Rational Voter,” even “Against Democracy.” The reasons for concern are many: a systematically ill-informed and biased electorate; the inherently groupish “us-versus-them” nature of the political mindset; the apparent impossibility to check special interest from dominating the political process. In the seminar, we will confront some of the most recent critics of democracy. How worried should we be? And how could we realistically hope to do better? What would be the alternatives? We will approach these questions with an open mind, respectful and willing to understand where people are coming from with whom we disagree. The format for the seminar is going to be conversational and discussion-based, designed to empower students to take an active role in class. Ideally, the seminar will comprise a plurality of viewpoints, allowing us to learn from each other.

About the Instructor

Stan Husi joined UWM in 2012 as an Assistant Professor of Philosophy. Before coming to UWM, he taught for a year at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. For his graduate degree he studied at Rice University, Washington University in Saint Louis, and Tuebingen University in Germany. Stan works in moral philosophy and metaethics, the philosophical enterprise of trying to figure out what that thing morality could possibly be. Nobody really knows; Stan thinks it’s something socially constructed, but beyond that, he hasn’t really managed to figure it out just yet, though he keeps on trying. He is also interested in political philosophy, hence his interest in democracy. Lately he’s been reading a bunch of books that made him a bit worried about democracy and whether it can be made to work. He taught a first-year-seminar on political ideologies last year, and thought democracy could be just as much fun as a topic. Apart from philosophy, Stan likes to spend time with his family, playing with his two young sons, and exploring Milwaukee by bike.