Lecture date: 1997-11-17
Decision or Deliberation – The Ethics of Democracy
As the first in an occasional series of lectures and seminars on Ethics and Architecture, Chantal Mouffe presents an account of the relation between politics and ethics. Far from political questions being of a moral order and therefore susceptible to rational solution, democracy has to come to terms with the inevitable fact of antagonism and the need to recognise that the moment of decision cannot be eliminated from the political. For Mouffe, the ethics of democracy must be shaped not by harmony but by disharmony. Democracy has to acknowledge the nature of its political frontiers and forms of exclusion, instead of disguising them under a veil of rationality and morality.
A political theorist educated at the universities of Louvain, Paris, and Essex, Chantal Mouffe is Professor of Political Theory at the University of Westminster. She has taught at many universities in Europe, North America and Latin America, and has held research positions at Harvard, Cornell, the University of California, the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, and the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique in Paris. Between 1989 and 1995 she was Directrice de Programme at the College International de Philosophie in Paris. Mouffe is the author of several books including The Return of the Political and co-author (with Ernesto Laclau) of the influential Hegemony and Socialist Strategy: Towards a Radical Democratic Politics.