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In Our NameThe Ethics of Democracy$
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Eric Beerbohm

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780691154619

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: October 2017

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691154619.001.0001

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Democracy’s Ethics of Belief

Democracy’s Ethics of Belief

Chapter:
(p.142) Chapter 6 Democracy’s Ethics of Belief
Source:
In Our Name
Author(s):

Eric Beerbohm

Publisher:
Princeton University Press
DOI:10.23943/princeton/9780691154619.003.0007

This chapter discusses democracy's ethics of belief and asks how we can reconcile our decision-making responsibilities, as morally momentous as they can seem to be, with our epistemic and cognitive vulnerabilities. More specifically, it considers the virtues of decision making of citizens by identifying instances of reckless or inattentive reasoning about politics. The chapter begins from the recognition that it is not possible for us to be well informed about the component parts of the modern democratic state. It insists that theory of citizenship owes us an account of permissible ignorance about political life. After considering the cognitive economy of democracy and the protective function of principles, the chapter presents a collection of counternormative cases that illustrate our intuitions about what constitutes negligent deliberation regarding justice's verdicts. It also describes three epistemic virtues—virtues of truth that bear on our limited decision making.

Keywords:   democracy, belief, decision making, citizens, reasoning, politics, citizenship, principles, justice, epistemic virtues

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