Disagreement and Epistemic Arguments for Democracy
Politics, Philosophy & Economics. Prepublished January 4, 2013, DOI: 10.1177/1470594X12460642.
23 Pages Posted: 30 Jul 2011 Last revised: 21 Jun 2017
Date Written: February 12, 2012
Recent epistemic arguments for democracy aim to show that in some qualified sense, democratic institutions have a tendency to produce reasonable outcomes. They aim to do so without presupposing any narrow, controversial view of what the outcomes of democratic procedures should be, much as a good justification of a particular scientific research design does not presuppose the hypothesis that the research aims to test. This paper considers whether this aim is achievable. It asks, in particular, whether epistemic arguments can be reconciled with the commonly held view that disagreement about which laws and policies should be enacted is a fundamental, permanent feature of democratic politics and imposes constraints on how we understand the value of democratic procedures.
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