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Democratic ReasonPolitics, Collective Intelligence, and the Rule of the Many$
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Hélène Landemore

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780691155654

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: October 2017

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691155654.001.0001

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A Selective Genealogy of the Epistemic Argument for Democracy

A Selective Genealogy of the Epistemic Argument for Democracy

(p.53) Chapter Three A Selective Genealogy of the Epistemic Argument for Democracy
Democratic Reason

Hélène Landemore

Princeton University Press

This chapter reveals, through a selected sample of authors and works, the range of arguments developed throughout history in favor of the epistemic properties of democracy. It contrasts two types of authors, the “talkers” and the “counters,” who respectively credit democratic deliberation or some version of judgment aggregation for the epistemic performance of democratic regimes. The chapter traces the history of such arguments from the foundational myth of Protagoras, in which every human being is assumed to be endowed by the gods with a spark of political wisdom, to Condorcet and his famous Jury Theorem, to John Dewey's idea of democracy as a social quest for truth and Hayek's theory of “distributed knowledge.”

Keywords:   democracy, talkers, counters, democratic deliberation, epistemic performance, judgment aggregation

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