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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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Democracy as a Gamble Worth Taking

Democracy as a Gamble Worth Taking

(p.232) Conclusion: Democracy as a Gamble Worth Taking
Democratic Reason

Hélène Landemore

Princeton University Press

This concluding chapter returns to the metaphor of the maze and the masses introduced in the first chapter and addresses a few concerns about the possibility of democratic “unreason.” Introducing the dimension of time and reflection over time, the chapter suggests, first, that democracies can learn from their mistakes and, second, that certain democratic institutions and norms serve as cognitive artifacts that help the people control for or correct their potential cognitive failures. Those cognitive artifacts at the level of society include institutions and norms that embody the collective intelligence of the people distributed across both space and time. Democratic reason thus includes the wisdom of the past “many” crystallized into social cognitive artifacts that help reduce democratic unreason. Because of the synchronic and diachronic collective intelligence tapped by democratic institutions, democracy, this chapter concludes, is a gamble worth taking.

Keywords:   maze, democracy, democratic unreason, cognitive artifacts, democratic institutions, democratic norms, democratic reason, social cognitive artifacts, collective intelligence

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