Kantian democracy and public administration

Anna Stilz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This paper critically assesses Chiara Cordelli’s Kantian theory of the legitimacy of public administration. I argue, first, that Cordelli’s understanding of Kantian legitimacy offers an insufficiently robust defense of democracy: it leaves too much scope for rule by epistocrats, individuals who are wiser than others in ascertaining the demands of justice. Second, I argue that Cordelli should be open to the eventual abolition of bureaucracy, through the increased involvement of ordinary citizens in public administration. Once we begin to worry about the problem of bureaucratic unilateralism, it may be hard to avoid the conclusion that it is democratically necessary to abolish the bureaucratic state.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)235-242
Number of pages8
JournalCritical Review of International Social and Political Philosophy
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2023

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Philosophy
  • Sociology and Political Science


  • Democracy
  • Kant
  • bureaucracy
  • legitimacy


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