Democratic majority principle in trouble?

The example of sustainability conflicts


  • Armin Bangert Institute for Technology Assessment and Systems Analysis (ITAS), Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) (Deutschland)



sustainability, practical philosophy, conflict management


Due to a lack of religious or metaphysical orientation in modern Western societies, interpersonal conflicts of interest and value are solved under the premise of individuals acting rationally through the interaction on a free market and the formation of political majorities gaining legislative power. However, the legitimacy of this approach becomes increasingly questionable when it comes to sustainability conflicts. In view of this, Hans Jonas considered the possibility of the need to suspend democratic institutions in favor of a benevolent tyrant to avert a potential catastrophe. Since any form of centralism comes with its own problems of legitimacy, utilizing the more modest orientation claims of prudence ethics is a more promising alternative in deliberations on the justifiability of an occasional suspension of the majority principle without exposing a society to the dangers of domineering arbitrariness.




How to Cite

Bangert A. Democratic majority principle in trouble? The example of sustainability conflicts. TATuP [Internet]. 2020 Dec. 15 [cited 2021 Jul. 30];29(3):50-5. Available from: