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Concepts of Democracy and Elitism in American Intellectual History

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Authors
Lee, Hyung-dae
Issue Date
2010
Publisher
서울대학교 미국학연구소
Citation
미국학, Vol.33 No.1, pp. 115-141
Keywords
John DeweyJonathan EdwardsRalph Waldo EmersonWilliam JamesWalter LippmannDemocracyElitism
Abstract
This article examines how American intellectuals such as Jonathan Edwards, Ralph Waldo Emerson, William James, John Dewey, and Walter Lippmann have recognized reality as well as human nature through both experiential and transcendental approaches. Understanding their recognitions of reality and man, this article argues that throughout American intellectual history the antithesis of the concept of democracy had been not necessarily that of elitism, for both concepts, rather, had been needed in reaching equilibrium between whole and parts which American intellectuals had sought as the most desirable state in the relation of man and God, and of individual and society. In fact, even when they stressed the excellence of whole and the heroism of man, they did so considering their relationships of mutual consent between all parts. In this respect, they were not elitist thinkers like Pareto, Mosca, and Michels who established a systematic distinction between elite and masses in society and politics. They believed that the theological and philosophical concepts of democracy and elitism can be, and should be, reconciled and applied for the full growth of individuals and the entire progress of society. The aim of this article is to criticize a current intellectual ethos which denies reality as well as human subject due to the belief that the processes of historical formation have been dominated by elite persons, elite values, and elite culture.
ISSN
1229-4381
Language
English
URI
http://hdl.handle.net/10371/88657
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Researcher Institutes (연구소)American Studies Institute (미국학연구소)미국학미국학 Volume 33 Number 1/2 (2010)
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