Political Compromise: Necessary for Democracy But Unacceptable to The Bases of Our Political Parties—Are We Doomed?

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The din and deadlock of public life in America reveal the deep disagreement that pervades our democracy. The disagreement is not only political but also moral as citizens and their representatives increasingly take extreme and intransigent positions. A better kind of public discussion is needed, and Amy Gutmann and Dennis Thompson in their book, The Spirit of Compromise: Why Governing Demands It and Campaigning Undermines It, provide an eloquent argument for “deliberative democracy” today. In our class we will have the opportunity come to understand the core elements of the theory of “deliberative democracy”. We will critically assess the authors’ arguments for it and the possibility that it might offer some hope of promoting improvement in our democratic governance.  MSC. Limit 26. 

Required Book(s): Amy Gutmann and Dennis Thompson, The Spirit of Compromise: Why Governing Demands It and Campaigning Undermines It (revised edition) (New Haven: Princeton U.P., 2014). ISBN: 978-0691160856. Amazon has the paperback edition for $16.64, the Kindle edition for $9.99, and the hardcover edition for $18.99.

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Bruce Hauptii earned a B.A. in mathematics from Lawrence University in Appleton, WI (1970) and a M.A. and Ph.D. in philosophy from Washington University in St. Louis, MO (1973 & 1974). He is an Emeritus Professor of philosophy at Florida International University in Miami, FL (The State University of Florida in Miami) where he taught for thirty-nine years. He used some of Plato’s early dialogues in his Fall 2016 MSC course “Introduction to Philosophy,” taught Plato’s “Aristocratic and Authoritarian” Republic vs. Dewey’s “Pragmatic” Democracy”” in Spring of 2017, and “Descartes: Sensible Doubts and Legitimate Knowledge?” in Spring of 2018.

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