Lonely hearts: Tocqueville and Democracy.


  • Herb Karlfriedrich
  • Sarah Rebecca Strömel


Tocqueville, Democracy, Soft Despotism, Solitude, Heart, lndividualism


Concerning the heart within the history of ideas, Alexis de Tocqueville is rather unknown - wrongfully. His theory of the democratic heart does not only deliver a privileged view on the pathologies of modern democracy, it also helps to decipher Tocqueville's own theory of democracy. In addition, Tocqueville's heart-reflections facilitate a better understanding of Individualism and Soft Despotism and they illuminate diagnoses and therapies of civic discomforts. Tocqueville's lonely hearts reflect the crisis of the modern world and - in a curious way - they also outline the ambivalent relationship between Tocqueville and democracy. To make it short: The importance of the lonely hearts can hardly be overestimated

Author Biographies

Herb Karlfriedrich

Professor of Political Philosophy at the University of Regensburg, Germany. He holds a PhD in Philosophy by the University of Bonn.

Sarah Rebecca Strömel

Research associate at the University of Regensburg, Germany. She holds a PhD in Political Science by the University of Regensburg



2023-12-05 — Updated on 2023-12-07