1st Edition

The Epistemology of Democracy

Edited By Hana Samaržija, Quassim Cassam Copyright 2023

    This is the first edited scholarly collection devoted solely to the epistemology of democracy. Its fifteen chapters, published here for the first time and written by an international team of leading researchers, will interest scholars and advanced students working in democratic theory, the harrowing crisis of democracy, political philosophy, social epistemology, and political epistemology.

    The volume is structured into three parts, each offering five chapters. The first part, Democratic Pessimism, covers the crisis of democracy, the rise of authoritarianism, public epistemic vices, misinformation and disinformation, civic ignorance, and the lacking quantitative case for democratic decision-making. The second part, Democratic Optimism, discusses the role of hope and positive emotions in rebuilding democracy, proposes solutions to myside bias, and criticizes dominant epistocratic approaches to forming political administrations. The third and final part, Democratic Realism, assesses whether we genuinely require emotional empathy to understand the perspectives of our political adversaries, discusses the democratic tension between mutual respect for others and a quest for social justice, and evaluates manifold top-down and bottom-up approaches to policy making.

    Introduction: What the Epistemology of Democracy Is All About  1. Sexy but Wrong: Diversity Theorem Defenses of Democracy  2. A Belated Failure: Condorcet in Contemporary Epistemic Conditions  3. Social Epistemic Miserliness: Populism against Democracy  4. Critical Thinking and Trusting Experts in Real-life Democracies  5. The Dangers of Disinformation  6. The Politics of Resentment: Hope, Mistrust, and Polarisation  7. Against the Individual Virtue Approach in the Epistemology of Democracy  8. Institutional Cynicism and Civic Virtue  9. Myside Bias in Individuals and Institutions  0. Listening for Epistemic Community  11. Sensemaking, Empathy, and Democracy   12. Political Skepticism, Bias, and Epistemic Colonization  13. Economic Inequalities and Epistemic Democracy  14. What Political Enemies Are for  15. Top-Down and Bottom-Up Solutions to the Problem of Political Ignorance


    Hana Samaržija is a Ph.D. student in Philosophy at the University of Warwick. Her papers on countering epistemic injustice and seeking epistemically high-quality alternatives to democracy have been published in Social Epistemology and other academic journals as well as in the edited book The Philosophy of Fanaticism: Epistemic, Affective, and Political Dimensions (Routledge, 2022).

    Quassim Cassam is a Professor of Philosophy at the University of Warwick, an Honorary Fellow of Keble College, Oxford, and a Fellow of the British Academy.