Reflexive public deliberation: Democracy and the limits of pluralism

Philosophy and Social Criticism 29 (1):85-105 (2003)
Abstract
Deliberative democracy defends an ideal of equality as political efficacy. Jorge Valadez offers a defense of such an ideal given cultural pluralism of ethnopolitical groups. He develops an epistemological account of the fact of pluralism as entailing incommensurable conceptual frameworks. While his account goes a long way towards identifying the problems with neutrality and many other liberal solutions to the problem of pluralism, it is still too liberal in certain ways. First, he draws the limits of deliberation and political inclusion too narrowly, giving little role for the toleration of non-liberal groups and too great a role to autonomy in deliberation. Second, incommensurability overemphasizes the theoretical nature of cultural conflicts and the need for background agreements on certain political values and thus also underappreciates practical solutions that leave disagreements intact. Finally, the contemporary fact of pluralism is not limited to relations among distinct cultures in this way, but is far more multidimensional, given multiple political memberships and the mutual interdependence and intense interaction among widely dispersed groups
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Lasse Thomassen (2011). Deliberative Democracy and Provisionality. Contemporary Political Theory 10 (4):423-443.
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