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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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(p.105) Chapter 4 Superdeliberators
In Our Name

Eric Beerbohm

Princeton University Press

This chapter argues that deliberative democracy is morally desirable but not strictly a moral requirement by focusing on superdeliberators and superdeliberation. The superdeliberator is a close relative of the philosopher-citizen. Each corresponds to the two meanings of “deliberation” in democratic theory, as reasoned thought and reasoned talk. The chapter first describes four necessary conditions that make a democratic theory deliberative before presenting two claims for the supererogation of deliberation at the micro- and macrodemocratic level. It then considers the belief by deliberativists that citizens have a standing obligation to participate periodically in contestatory forums. It also rejects the notion that the quantity and diffusion of public speech acts envisaged by deliberative theory is a necessary property of a morally acceptable social order. Finally, it examines the bare moral obligations that attach to citizens' reasoning about politics.

Keywords:   deliberative democracy, superdeliberators, superdeliberation, democratic theory, deliberation, citizens, public speech, social order, moral obligations, politics

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