What we know today as Dualism - the separation of the life of the mind, emotions, and philosophy, from the body, observable facts, and the physical sciences - has defined and influenced much of the history of human thought stretching back more than two millennia to the Greeks of 400 BCE. More recently, the remarkable success of the physical sciences particularly beginning in the 17th century, drew attention to the development of a “Social” Science that would replicate this success with the work of Rene Descartes as perhaps the prime example. The goal was to make the study of society and human interaction, comparable to the study of the observable facts and processes of the material world. While understandable and at times useful, the overall result, going back again, to the Greeks, is a kind of damaging separation or fragmentation - the splitting of mind from body, emotion from fact, life from death. I will save discussion of a little known but brilliant philosopher, Giambattista Vico for another Post. Suffice to say that Vico was a powerful "anti-Descartes" whose New Science was published just over 80 years after Descartes’ principle writings.
Many political scientists of the 20th century, notably Joseph Schumpeter, followed the lead of Descartes in two ways: articulating the same separation of emotion and thought from facts and empiricism, and, placing the latter in a superior position to the former. The result was a perhaps inadvertent diminishing of Democracy to mean the mechanics of electing representatives and related processes. To their credit, the founders of American democracy (a mere 50 years after Vico) in the 18th century, were arguably, “anti-dualists” - bringing together ideas such as freedom and liberty (theory) with its articulation in a specific form of government (practice). I believe that the power of the American Declaration of Independence and Constitution derives from this unified approach. And, I believe we need to regain and sustain this approach - to embrace and enhance the “why” of democracy as the foundation of the “how.” The “why” of Democracy can be a crucial and sustaining unifying ground upon which a productive debate about the “how” can take place. In our current polarized world we have lost track of this “why”.