Democracy - Towards a greener future

Rasmus Mølsted Troldahl, Anna Nanna Koefoed Nielsen, Jens Villads Heiede Jensen & Frederik Iversen

Student thesis: Bachelor project


This paper examines the political theory of the american philosopher John Dewey regarding democracy. His thoughts have for several decades been proven to still hold relevance for multiple fields of philosophy. One of those is that of the still relatively new ontological theory of vital materialism as represented by Jane Bennett.
The goal of this study is to show, how this new materialism could expand Dewey’s theoretical democratic public to also include non-human actants as members of the public. This requires a faithful representation of Dewey’s political philosophy and Bennett’s vital materialism followed by thorough deliberations concerning the compatibility of both. A conclusion is reached that various notions from both theories benefits from a contextualization and a sense of scale which results in valuable clarity.
Bennett’s hope is that her reconceptualization of matter as vital can lead to this inclusion. We conclude, however, that if you follow Dewey’s definition of democracy, community and public to the letter this cannot be done. One of the primary reasons for this is the concept of communication, though it is speculated that if stretched this concept can indeed pave the way for the non-human actants’ membership in the public. Bennetts’ vital materialism and two of its key concepts represents none the less a valuable tool in general and in connection to Dewey’s public in the form of practical application, all the while some premises can be neglected without loss of her principle purpose. Thus we find that specific parts of vital materialism can be a fundament from which to develop Dewey’s political theory.

EducationsPhilosophy and Science Studies, (Bachelor/Graduate Programme) Bachelor
Publication date28 May 2018
Number of pages47
SupervisorsMartin Ejsing Christensen


  • Democracy
  • Metaphysics
  • John Dewey
  • Jane Bennet