David Kinkead
David Kinkead

Project Title: Bootstrapping Democracy

Principal Advisor: Dr Gilbert Burgh

Project Abstract: How can a people decide who should be included amongst the people? It can’t be ‘the people’ because who ‘the people’ are is only determined after the decision has been made. How can a people settle disagreement about an electoral system? They can't vote on it because the method of voting is the very issue to be settled.

These questions are examples of what I call the Bootstrap Paradox. Do we need to resort to some non-democratic principle to solve these problems, and if so, why do we even need democracy if that principle can do the job for us? Or can democracy pick itself up by its bootstraps and provide its own foundations?

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