In the Greek polis the meaning of the term “democracy” implied the government of a vast majority of the people, the “plebs”, as opposed to the aristocracy. In modern politics the word signifies that the entirety of the population, made up of free and equal individuals, is the source of sovereignty, even though the population does not rule directly but rather through a free mandate.
In recent times, “dialogue” has emerged as an important and even central notion in both philosophy and politics. We speak of a “dialogue among civilizations” in opposition to a “clash of civilizations”, and of a “dialogue among religions” as an antidote to the “clash of fundamentalisms”. Why has dialogue emerged as such a crucial term today? Because it denotes the opposite of unilateralism and monologue.