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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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Reconsidering the Role of Political Argument in Democratic Politics

Reconsidering the Role of Political Argument in Democratic Politics

(p.128) Chapter 5 Reconsidering the Role of Political Argument in Democratic Politics
The Priority of Democracy

Jack Knight

James Johnson

Princeton University Press

This chapter examines three ways that political argument can affect democratic decision making and, thus, significantly mitigate the force of the social choice challenge. By engaging in political argument, relevant agents can settle the dimensions that, in any instance, structure their disagreements. This causal effect not only dampens the prospects that collective decision making will generate cyclical outcomes, it thereby reduces the opportunities for strategic manipulation that such instability presents. Once the analytical argument has established the possibility that voting, augmented by argument, could produce normatively legitimate decisions, the chapter considers two ways in which democratic argument can enhance the quality of such decisions: diversity and reflexivity.

Keywords:   political argument, democratic decision making, social choice, collective decision making, voting, democratic argument, diversity, reflexivity

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