The politics of truth: A critique of Peircean deliberative democracy

Philosophy and Social Criticism 36 (9):1075-1091 (2010)
Recent discussion in democratic theory has seen a revival of interest in pragmatism. Drawing on the work of C. S. Peirce, Cheryl Misak and Robert Talisse have argued that a form of deliberative democracy is justified as the means for citizens to assure themselves of the truth of their beliefs. In this article, I suggest that the Peircean account of deliberative democracy is conceived too narrowly. It takes its force from seeing citizens as intellectual inquirers, something that I argue is both problematic in itself and relies on a controversial understanding of truth and inquiry. The article goes on to propose reasons for favouring a Deweyan rather than a Peircean account of democracy, one in which deliberation is seen not simply as a matter of arriving at the truth, but as part of a broader view of human flourishing.
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DOI 10.1177/0191453710379031
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