Separation of Powers

Separation of Powers



Brief Description

The principle of the separation of powers is one the cornerstones of constitutional democracies. However, it is a remarkably low-key concept in political theory. During this research my intention is to work out a concise and consistent normative description of this conception.

Research Period



Research Type

Individual, possibly developing into a team research

Project Supervisor

András Körösényi


Zoltán Balázs


Research Summary

The conception of the separation of powers is a principal value of constitutional democracies (but also possibly of non-democratic, but liberal, regimes). A good starting point of making sense of it is The Federalist Papers. The research will first lay out the normative background of this conception, that is, the first phase involves studying the axioms and the logic of it. It is necessary to outline first a convincing account of power the basis of which my previous research on theories of power can provide. The separation of power is today commonly interpreted as applying mainly to branches of government, more broadly to institutions and more or less independent agencies. However, a normative political theoretical conception, in some sense by way of rehabilitating the apparently outdated Rousseauian and Fichtean questions on the consistency of the doctrine, will allow for a deeper analysis. Power is perhaps inherently a phenomenon that carries with it the idea of separation, both horizontally and vertically, in both a spatial and a temporal sense. Ordinary, common power relations between individuals and citizens, public power, governmental power will be distinguished, separated and linked together again, but never obfuscating the conceptual distinctions that are, so the assumption goes, rooted in real differences.