Defending deliberation: a comment on Ian Shapiro's The State of Democratic Theory

This comment responds to Shapiro?s State of Democratic Theory. First, it argues that the map of democratic possibilities in the book, dividing forms of democracy into aggregative and deliberative, conflates and obscures important democratic alternatives. Second, I argue that one of the possibilities this map obscures, deliberation with aggregation, avoids the critique Shapiro directs at deliberative democracy. While some of his criticisms are appropriate to other categories, they do not apply to this one. Third, I argue that the empirical work conducted under this category undermines Shapiro?s claims about how democracy can be expected to lead to violations of transitivity in actual practice. Fourth, I argue that there are other lines of defense for deliberative democracy in response to the combination of arguments that Shapiro offers in critique of deliberative democracy
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