Dirty Hands and the Complicity of the Democratic Public

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    6 Citations (Scopus)

    Abstract

    The alleged problem of the dirty hands of politicians has been much discussed since Michael Walzer’s original piece (Walzer 1974). The discussion has concerned the precise nature of the problem or sought to dissolve the apparent paradox. However there has been little discussion of the putative complicity, and thus also dirtying of hands, of a democratic public that authorizes politicians to act in its name. This article outlines the sense in which politicians do get dirty hands and the degree to which a democratic public may also get dirty hands. It separates the questions of secrecy, authorisation, and wrongfulness in order to spell out the extent of public complicity. Finally it addresses the ways in which those who do and those who do not acknowledge the problem of dirty hands erroneously discount or deny the problem of complicity by an appeal to the nature of democracy, a putatively essential need for political openness or to the scope of ideal theory.
    LanguageEnglish
    Pages1-14
    Number of pages14
    JournalEthical Theory and Moral Practice
    VolumeOctober
    Issue numbernull
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - Oct 2012

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    politician
    secrecy
    authorization
    appeal
    democracy
    Dirty Hands
    Complicity
    Politicians
    Secrecy
    Democracy
    Openness
    Michael Walzer
    Names
    Paradox

    Cite this

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    title = "Dirty Hands and the Complicity of the Democratic Public",
    abstract = "The alleged problem of the dirty hands of politicians has been much discussed since Michael Walzer’s original piece (Walzer 1974). The discussion has concerned the precise nature of the problem or sought to dissolve the apparent paradox. However there has been little discussion of the putative complicity, and thus also dirtying of hands, of a democratic public that authorizes politicians to act in its name. This article outlines the sense in which politicians do get dirty hands and the degree to which a democratic public may also get dirty hands. It separates the questions of secrecy, authorisation, and wrongfulness in order to spell out the extent of public complicity. Finally it addresses the ways in which those who do and those who do not acknowledge the problem of dirty hands erroneously discount or deny the problem of complicity by an appeal to the nature of democracy, a putatively essential need for political openness or to the scope of ideal theory.",
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    Dirty Hands and the Complicity of the Democratic Public. / Archard, Dave.

    In: Ethical Theory and Moral Practice, Vol. October , No. null, 10.2012, p. 1-14.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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