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Adam Lovett (LSE): ‘Democratic Failures and the Ethics of Democracy’

28 November 2023, 2:00 pm3:30 pm

Abstract: This talk will be an overview of my forthcoming book. The book is about the ways in which real-world democracies fall short of democratic ideals and why those shortfalls matter. The project is rooted in a vast body of empirical findings that political scientists have accumulated over the last seven decades. These are findings about political ignorance, voter behaviour, the policymaking process, polarization, and the popular control of representatives. These findings are often both surprising and troubling—they suggest our democracies fall far short of democratic ideals. My book is a detailed, careful exploration of why such findings matter. In part, that involves giving an account of what makes democracy valuable in the first place: why does democracy matter? And in part it involves connecting the value of democracy to the rights and duties of ordinary citizens. My overarching argument is that our duties to obey the law, and the moral permissibility of enforcing those laws, depend on the realization of democratic ideals. So the shortfalls of our democracies undermine the moral authority and legitimacy of our states.

Adam Lovett is a Fellow at the Department of Philosophy, Logic and Scientific Method at LSE. His research focuses on political philosophy, ethics and metaphysics.

This event will take place in person on LSE’s campus. However, those unable to attend in person will have the option of taking part online.

To join online just follow these instructions:

Please note that these events are routinely recorded, with the edited footage being made publicly available on our website and YouTube channel. We will only record the audio, the slides and the speaker and will not include the Q&A section. However, any question asked during the talk itself will feature in the final edit.


28 November 2023
2:00 pm – 3:30 pm
Event Category:


Department of Philosophy, Logic & Scientific Method


LAK 2.06
Lakatos Building
London, WC2A 2AE United Kingdom
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