Theodore M. Lechterman

Postdoctoral Fellow

Aufenthalt am Forschungskolleg Humanwissenschaften:
September 2018 – August 2019

Forschungsthema am Forschungskolleg Humanwissenschaften:
»Donors’ Democracy: Private Philanthropy And Political Morality«

The practice of philanthropy, which voluntarily releases private property for public purposes, represents in many ways the best angels of our nature. But this practice’s noteworthy virtues often blind us to the fact that philanthropy also represents the exercise of private power. My book Donors Democracy argues that this private power threatens the value of democracy, and the risk is grave. The ability to commit private wealth for public ends rivals the authority of communities to determine their own affairs. And, in societies characterized by wide disparities in wealth, philanthropy combines with background inequality to make public decisions overwhelmingly sensitive to the preferences of the rich. Allowing private wealth to control social outcomes collides with core commitments of a democratic society, a society in which persons are supposed to determine their common affairs together, on equal terms.

But why exactly is democracy valuable? How should these values be weighed against the liberty of donors and the many social benefits that philanthropy promises? Donors’ Democracy aims to explore these questions by examining various aspects of the practice of philanthropy: state support for private giving, the use of donations for political speech, the temporal duration of donor intent, the responsibility for providing public goods, the justification for corporate philanthropy, and the practical ethics of giving. These studies build to a surprising conclusion: democracy cannot survive without philanthropy—but making philanthropy safe for democracy also requires radical changes to law and practice. In the process, the book illustrates how engagement with empirical phenomena challenges leading perspectives in contemporary political theory. (Theodore M. Lechterman)

Förderung des Aufenthaltes:
DFG-Kollegforschergruppe »Justitia Amplificata. Rethinking Justice − Applied and Global«

Theodore M. Lechterman folgt einer Einladung von Professor Rainer Forst und der an der Goethe-Universität angesiedelten Kollegforschergruppe »Justitia Amplificata Centre for Advanced Studies«.

Wissenschaftliches Profil von Theodore M. Lechterman

Der Philosoph und Politikwissenschaftler Ted Lechterman ist besonders an der Frage interessiert, wie die Werte einer demokratischen Gesellschaftsordnung auf wirtschlafliche Praktiken angewendet werden können. 2016 bis 2018 hatte er ein interdisziplinäres Fellowship für Ethik inne, das zwischen dem McCoy Center for Ethics in Society und dem Stanford Center on Philanthropy and Civil Society angesiedelt war. 2016 wurde er am Department of Politics der Princeton University mit einer Arbeit über »Donors’ Democracy: Private Philanthropy and Political Morality« promoviert.

Weitere Informationen zu Theodore M. Lechterman finden Sie hier.

Politische Theorie der Gegenwart, Demokratietheorie, Gerechtigkeitstheorien, angewandte Ethik

Veröffentlichungen (Auswahl):
  1. »Being Good in a World of Uncertainty: Reply to Temkin«, in: Journal of Practical Ethics (im Erscheinen).
  2. The Effective Altruist’s Political Problem, Polity (im Erscheinen).
  3. (with Rob Reich) »Political Theory and the Nonprofit Sector«, in: Walter W. Powell und Patricia Bromley (Hg.), The Nonprofit Sector: A Research Handbook, Stanford University Press (im Erscheinen).