BIROn - Birkbeck Institutional Research Online

    Why Deliberative Democracy is (still) untenable

    Ahlstrom-Vij, Kristoffer (2012) Why Deliberative Democracy is (still) untenable. Public Affairs Quarterly 26 (3), pp. 199-220. ISSN 0887-0373.

    Full text not available from this repository.


    Many political philosophers are attracted to the idea of a deliberative democracy, i.e., the idea that a healthy democracy is one where citizens regularly get together to deliberate. A common objection to deliberative democracy, however, is that available evidence on public ignorance suggests that people aren?t informed enough for social deliberation among the public to yield accurate outputs. In this paper, I reject two recent responses to this objection. The first response is that the correct conclusion to draw from the evidence is simply that we must work harder to ensure that the deliberative process improves the deliberators? accuracy. The main problem for this response is that there are non-deliberative alternatives available—most prominently information markets, which offer people the opportunity to ?bet? on future events, and then generate a prediction in the form of a price signal—that do a better job from the point of view of accuracy than does social deliberation. So why keep bothering with deliberation? The second response attempts to answer this question by arguing that only socially deliberative practices can confer political legitimacy on the resulting policies, where a politically legitimate policy is one that we have reason to obey. In response to this, it is argued that information markets actually carry more promise than does social deliberation when it comes to offering the kinds of justifications that are relevant to legitimacy. That is why deliberative democracy is and remains untenable.


    Item Type: Article
    School: Birkbeck Faculties and Schools > Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences > School of Historical Studies
    Depositing User: Kristoffer Ahlstrom-Vij
    Date Deposited: 14 Jan 2021 10:44
    Last Modified: 02 Aug 2023 17:36


    Activity Overview
    6 month trend
    6 month trend

    Additional statistics are available via IRStats2.

    Archive Staff Only (login required)

    Edit/View Item Edit/View Item