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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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Epistemic Failures of Deliberation

Epistemic Failures of Deliberation

(p.118) Chapter Five Epistemic Failures of Deliberation
Democratic Reason

Hélène Landemore

Princeton University Press

This chapter considers several objections—some empirical, some theoretical—to the claim that deliberation has positive epistemic properties. It uses a theory recently developed in evolutionary psychology—the argumentative theory of reasoning—to refute at a theoretical level two classical objections to deliberation. The first objection is that, far from leading to any individual or collective epistemic improvements, deliberation with others does not do much to change minds. The other objection is the so-called law of group polarization according to which deliberating groups of like-minded people will systematically polarize. The chapter argues that where the normal conditions of reasoning are satisfied, dialogical deliberation of the kind favored by most deliberative democrats is likely to have the predicted transformative epistemic properties.

Keywords:   deliberation, inclusive deliberation, theory of reasoning, epistemic improvements, group polarization, dialogical deliberation, transformative epistemic properties

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