Jump to ContentJump to Main Navigation
The Democratic ConstitutionExperimentalism and Interpretation$
Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content.

Brian E. Butler

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780226474502

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: January 2018

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226474649.001.0001

Show Summary Details
Page of

PRINTED FROM CHICAGO SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.chicago.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of Chicago Press, 2022. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in CHSO for personal use.date: 01 July 2022

Democratic Aims and Experimentalist Procedure

Democratic Aims and Experimentalist Procedure

(p.22) Chapter Two Democratic Aims and Experimentalist Procedure
The Democratic Constitution

Brian E. Butler

University of Chicago Press

As opposed to a conception of constitutional law as constructing game rules prior to and foundational for democracy, this chapter constructs a picture of law as democratic means with a broader social conception of democracy. Starting with John Dewey’s conception of democracy, various examples of contemporary scholarship that include experimentalist methodology combined with democratic aims are outlined and critiqued. Most, it is found, such as those offered by Cass Sunstein or Roberto Unger, for all their emphasis upon experimentalism and democracy, cannot live up to Dewey’s strong demands for a truly democratic politics. Through utilization of the democratic experimentalism scholarship of Michael Dorf and Charles Sabel, it is argued that a plausible picture of law as a democratic means can be constructed. This pragmatic reconstruction of constitutional law, it is shown, satisfies the demands Dewey makes of democratic practice. Most importantly, such a conception of law shows that rather than the ubiquitous foundational picture of constitutional law as giving rules to democracy, democratic experimentalism offers an experimental version of constitutional law that is democratic “all the way down.”

Keywords:   Dewey, democratic experimentalism, democracy, constitutional law, politics, pragmatic reconstruction, Dorf, Sabel

Chicago Scholarship Online requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books within the service. Public users can however freely search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter.

Please, subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.

To troubleshoot, please check our FAQs, and if you can't find the answer there, please contact us.