John Riser received his Ph.D. in Philosophy from the University of North Carolina. Having taught at several universities in the United States and Canada, he was also a lecturer at Moscow State University and a researcher at Humboldt University in Berlin, Germany. Dr. Riser retired from the University of Central Florida in 2003.
2004 0-7734-6439-5 This book provides an examination of democracy in a different light, specifically in the author’s identification, explication and elaboration of three fundamental criteria. These three fundamental criteria of democracy and democratic practice often discounted or simply disregarded are: 1) democracy is a form of human activity relevant not just for the conventionally political state but also, as much or more, for other social contexts of various magnitudes and functions; 2) democracy is a practice of positive freedom, incorporating negative freedom but subsuming the latter within the project of the mutual empowerment of human beings in accordance with humanistic values; 3) democracy is embodied most adequately in a communally (not merely socially) cooperative model that is different, in most important respects, from unitary, adversary or deliberative models (herein subjected to critique).
Explicit analyses are provided of a variety of socio-political concepts that are philosophically integrated with these criteria, concepts such as representation, participation, elitism, preferences, interests, the common good, human needs and human rights, negative freedom and positive freedom, justice, equality, difference, legitimacy, obligation and loyalty. The author’s own model of democracy – acknowledged to be unrealizable at the level of the nation-state (where adversary quasi-democracy is most practicable) – is explicated, at the same time, dealing with problems and prospects for it and emphasizing its importance for the social activity of human beings in the immediacy of their lifeworld.
2009 0-7734-4773-3 This study analyzes and evaluates major elements of the careers of four dissidents who were opposed to the socialist systems under which they lived. It focuses on the main events in their lives, their most significant contributions, the influence they wielded, as well as the substantive adjustments in outlook they made after their early optimism about the prospects of “existing socialism” disintegrated due to disillusionment about, and rejection of, its guiding policies.