Pluralism, Preferences and Deliberation: A Critique of Sen's Constructive Argument for Democracy

Journal of Social Philosophy, Forthcoming

23 Pages Posted: 21 Feb 2013

See all articles by Carlo Argenton

Carlo Argenton

London School of Economics & Political Science (LSE)

Enzo Rossi

University of Amsterdam

Date Written: September 19, 2012

Abstract

In this paper we argue that Sen's defence of liberal democracy suffers from a moralistic and pro-liberal bias that renders it unable to take pluralism as seriously as it professes to do. That is because Sen’s commitment to respecting pluralism is not matched by his account of how to individuate the sorts of preferences that ought to be included in democratic deliberation. Our argument generalises as a critique of the two most common responses to the fact of pluralism in contemporary (i.e. post-Rawls) liberalism: a broadly procedural understanding of autonomy and the idea of deliberative democracy. That is to say, the difficulties with pluralism we identify can be traced back to the particular version of Kantian deontology prevalent in contemporary liberalism, and to the equally prevalent aspiration to ground political legitimacy in a moralised consensus.

Keywords: Sen, Pluralism, Preferences, Deliberative Democracy, Capabilities, Liberalism

Suggested Citation

Argenton, Carlo and Rossi, Enzo, Pluralism, Preferences and Deliberation: A Critique of Sen's Constructive Argument for Democracy (September 19, 2012). Journal of Social Philosophy, Forthcoming. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2220991

Carlo Argenton (Contact Author)

London School of Economics & Political Science (LSE) ( email )

Houghton Street
London, WC2A 2AE
United Kingdom

Enzo Rossi

University of Amsterdam ( email )

Department of Political Science
Oudezijds Achterburgwal 237
Amsterdam, 1012 DL
Netherlands

HOME PAGE: http://uva.academia.edu/EnzoRossi

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