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(3,584 words)

Author(s): Narr, Wolf-Dieter | Strohm, Theodor
1. Term and History The term “democracy,” which comes from ancient Greece, literally means “rule by the people.” In political philosophy, democracy was viewed as a form of government. It stood between aristocracy (the rule of the elite) and the negatively viewed ochlocracy (mob rule; Aristotle Pol. ). Classical Greece—or more narrowly the city-state of Athens in the fifth and fourth centuries b.c. up to its subjugation by Philip II of Macedonia and the end of its independence in 338 b.c.—ranked as a model democracy. In Athens male citizens had the right to vote at popular…

Social Systems

(1,063 words)

Author(s): Narr, Wolf-Dieter
1. Term and History 1.1. In antiquity, “system” (Gk. systēma) referred to a whole formed of several parts. In the modern period, “social system” has become a central term. Jurisprudence (Law and Legal Theory), theology, and, above all, theologically inspired philosophy (Philosophy and Theology) reached their peak in social systems theory. According to Heinrich Rombach, with Spinoza and since Spinoza, philosophy becomes a system; the philosophy of the system is philosophy as system (Spinozism). The concep…


(4,684 words)

Author(s): Narr, Wolf-Dieter | Mudge, Lewis S. | Charpentier, Jean-Marie | Moede, Gerald F.
¶ The word “pluralism” (from Lat. pluralis) refers to the presence, in any given setting, of a multiplicity of competing cultures, viewpoints, economic interests, religious perspectives, philosophical opinions, and the like. In such usages the word is a near synonym for “diversity.” “Pluralism” can also mean the advocacy or defense of diversity as a matter of principle, as when pluralism is contrasted with terms such as “exclusivism” or “inclusivism” in regard to religious faiths other than one’s own…