Nicolae Dobrei

2009

Nicolae Dobrei
2009

The tension between fundamental human rights and democratic (majoritarian) legitimacy is both critical
and analytically rich for contemporary normative theories of democracy – and for the issue of morally
acceptable civil disobedience as well. I briefl y discuss the challenge this tension raises for three of the
mainstream approaches to this issue, namely republicanism, liberalism and deliberative democracy. I move
then to a detailed account of the early Rawlsian justifi cation of civil disobedience, and in the third step of
my argument I advance the idea that Rawls’ theory of public reason off ers a particularly strong framework
for understanding disobedience as an eff ective means for promoting justice and legitimacy in contemporary
democracies.