Democratic Reason: The Mechanisms of Collective Intelligence in Politics
Helene E. Landemore
April 1, 2011
COLLECTIVE WISDOM: PRINCIPLES AND MECHANISMS, Hélène Landemore and Jon Elster, eds., Cambridge University Press, Spring 2012
This paper argues that democracy can be seen as a way to channel “democratic reason,” or the collective political intelligence of the many. The paper hypothesizes that two main democratic mechanisms - the practice of inclusive deliberation (in its direct and indirect versions) and the institution of majority rule with universal suffrage - combine their epistemic properties to maximize the chances that the group pick the “better” political answer within a given context and a set of values. The paper further argues that under the conditions of a liberal society, characterized among other things by sufficient cognitive diversity, these two mechanisms give democracy an epistemic edge over versions of the rule of the few.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 63
Keywords: Democratic Reason, Collective Intelligence, Epistemic Democracy, Majority Rule, Deliberation, Cognitive Diversity, Democracy
Date posted: May 20, 2011 ; Last revised: June 3, 2011