Would ordinary citizens benefit if public decisions were increasingly based on an inclusive and fair exchange of reasons rather than mere voting or choices in the market? Debates amongst deliberative democrats often proceed as though this process of public reasoning is precisely what the democratic ideals of freedom and equality require. Less attention has been paid to whether an inclusive and fair exchange of reasons is possible in any realistic modern setting, and what the effects would be of trying to move democratic institutions in a deliberative direction. To examine these effects, the contributors to this collection of essays bring together a number of analyses of the practical implications of expanding deliberative processes. Some consider the prevailing epistemic conditions in modern societies and their likely effects on deliberative reasoning. Others discuss the politics of these societies, and especially the likely effects of existing political divisions on democratic deliberation. Lastly, the question of what we might hope to see – and what we might hope to avoid – from political argument is addressed. Considered together, these three foci should equip readers to decide whether deliberative democracy is feasible and, if so, if it is desirable.
This book was published as a special issue of Critical Review.
Table of Contents
1. Introduction: Deliberation between Ends and Values Paul Gunn 2. Can Deliberative Democracy Be Partisan? Russell Muirhead 3. Democracy and the Deliberative Conceit Mark Pennington 4. Rational Democracy, Deliberation, and Reality Manfred Prisching 5. When Deliberation Produces Extremism David Schkade, Cass R. Sunstein, and Reid Hastie 6. Deliberative Democracy and Political Ignorance Ilya Somin 7. An Epistemological Defense of Democracy Robert B. Talisse 8. Incommunicative Action: An Esoteric Warning about Deliberative Democracy Geoffrey M. Vaughan
Paul Gunn is lecturer in political economy at Goldsmiths, University of London. He holds a PhD from Queen Mary, University of London, and his research interests concern the implications of social complexity on institutional choice and performance.
'This book offers an intervention in the deliberative literature, and will be of interest to anyone interested in the theory and practice of deliberative democracy.' - Jonathan Kuyper, Stockholm University, e-International Relations