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The Priority of DemocracyPolitical Consequences of Pragmatism$
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Jack Knight and James Johnson

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780691151236

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: October 2017

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691151236.001.0001

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Pragmatism and the Problem of Institutional Design

Pragmatism and the Problem of Institutional Design

(p.25) Chapter 2 Pragmatism and the Problem of Institutional Design
The Priority of Democracy

Jack Knight

James Johnson

Princeton University Press

This chapter provides a basis for a pragmatist account of democracy. It specifies three features—fallibilism, anti-skepticism, and consequentialism—as central to pragmatism understood as a philosophical position. The chapter also makes two further claims that are distinctive. First, pragmatism has important political consequences and that those sustain a commitment to robust democratic politics. Second, insofar as pragmatists are committed to democratic politics, they necessarily are committed not just to an ethos or ideal but to the analysis of democratic institutions. Each of these arguments will come as a surprise not just to those who come to pragmatism from the outside but to many who consider themselves pragmatists.

Keywords:   pragmatism, democracy, fallibilism, anti-skepticism, consequentialism, political consequences, democratic politics, democratic institutions

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