Josiah Ober, Mitsotakis Professor of Political Science and Classics at Stanford, works on historical institutionalism and political theory, focusing on the political thought and practice of the ancient Greek world. His 2008 book, Democracy and Knowledge: Innovation and Learning in Classical Athens, analyzes ancient Greek democracy as a system for the aggregation, alignment, and codification of useful knowledge. The book seeks to explain the close correlation between the development of democratic institutions and state performance in the age of Thuycydides, Plato, and Aristotle. More recent chapters and articles have addressed rational cooperation in Greek thought, the role of civic dignity in democratic stability, and an approach to collective judgement drawing on both deliberation and aggregation of independent guesses.
A Theory of Democracy
Basic (as opposed to liberal or social) democracy is collective and limited self-governance by citizens. It can, under the right conditions, be good for security and material welfare, for the free exercise of constitutive human capacities, and for liberty (positive and negative), political equality, and civic dignity; it requires epistemic diversity but ensures neither full social justice nor universal human rights.