Saving democracy: The limits of optimism without will

par Arthur Stein

The Centre d’études et de recherches internationales (CERIUM) is currently holding a conference cycle entitled « Saving Democracy », the primary objective of which is a broad reflection on liberal democracy. The first two guests were authors Steven Pinker, a famous cognitive psychologist and professor at Harvard University, and Adam Przeworski, renown political scientist from New York University, known for his influential work on democracy. The content of both conferences strongly differed, as Pinker’s presentation can be perceived as resolutely optimistic, while Przesworski is undeniably more pessimistic and contradicts Pinker’s assumptions. As a result, one can wonder: is there a place for optimism in the current study of democracy?

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