Think

Research Article

REPLY TO WOLFF, PLATO, SMITH, CHURCHILL AND ARISTOTLE ON DEMOCRACY

Timothy Childers

Fraser Smith (THINK 16) argues that Plato's argument against democracy as reconstructed by Jonathon Wolff is flawed because in a ‘modern’ democracy the people do not rule, but instead elect officials subject to a system of checks and balances. Smith's conception of democracy is much like Churchill's (and Popper's). I will argue that Smith's reply does not address Wolff and Plato's argument. I will then point out that Aristotle replied to Plato's argument in an appealing – and strikingly modern – fashion. Aristotle, I conclude, did justify to at least some degree democracy, and hence did address Plato's argument.

Timothy Childers is a member of the Department of Logic, Institute of Logic, Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic, Prague.