Political philosophy and empowering citizens

Avner De-Shalit*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations


This paper defends the idea of empowering citizens by means of teaching them political philosophy. First, I explain and define empowerment as an experience leading to the development of critical and philosophical capabilities. Several challenges to using philosophy to empower citizens are then discussed and rejected. This group of challenges is called the 'divorce theory', because, according to them, philosophy and politics should be distinguished, as if divorced from each other, so that they can live happily side by side, but not together. Finally, empowerment is normatively defended and distinguished from paternalism, and examine the relationships between empowerment through political philosophy and deliberative democracy.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)802-818
Number of pages17
JournalPolitical Studies
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 2004


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