In our previous edition of Philosophy Tag, my attempts to get Sarah Conly (Bowdoin) to tag someone’s article failed. She instead tagged someone’s book. Ok, fine. Michael Bishop (Florida State) had tagged her book, and I allowed it, so how could I deny her the opportunity to do the same? She tagged When The State Speaks, What Should It Say? by Corey Brettschneider (Brown). “Corey,” I said, “please tag an article, not a book.” “Um,” he replied, “Perhaps you haven’t seen my book, poindexter, but I tell the goddamn motherf*ckin’ state what to say. Why the hell would I listen to you?” (Apparently he has been saying this every time anyone asks him something lately, so I wasn’t particularly bothered.) Anyway, without further ado, I present: When Corey Brettschneider plays philosophy tag, what does he say?
I was asked to “tag” an article, but it was just too tempting to name a book. Democratic theory has enjoyed a recent resurgence. One of the most original and compelling new visions of democracy is Eric Beerbohm’s In Our Name: The Ethics of Democracy. Beerbohm (Harvard) takes on the important question of citizen responsibility for policy decisions, and demonstrates that it should be the primary lens through which we should view the problem of self-government. He convincingly shows why many of our assumptions about representative government and institutional design are mistaken. He argues that democracies should make transparent the responsibility that each citizen bears for policies as a result of participating in elections. Current institutions often mask that responsibility and require redesign. They should be constructed to ensure transparency and so that citizen responsibility might be realized.