Winston Churchill famously described democracy as ‘the worst form of government except for all the others that have been tried’. While not exactly a resounding endorsement, something like this sentiment is strongly held by most people in Western societies. Those who challenge it are branded ‘extremists’ or ‘ideologues’, with special suspicion reserved for those who incorporate unfamiliar cultural or religious beliefs. However, there have always been those who think alternatives to democracy are possible, and indeed preferable. So what are the philosophical arguments in favour of democracy, and do they stand up to scrutiny?
Beatrix Campbell, Writer, journalist, and political activist
Peter Hallward, Professor of Modern European Philosophy, Kingston University London
Edward Kanterian, Senior Lecturer in Philosophy, University of Kent
Peter Dennis, Fellow, Department of Philosophy, Logic and Scientific Method, LSE and Forum for European Philosophy Fellow