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Profile: Michael Fuerstein (St. Olaf College)
  1. Michael Fuerstein (2015). Contesting the Market: An Assessment of Capitalism's Threat to Democracy. In Subramanian Rangan (ed.), Performance and Progress: Essays on Capitalism, Business, and Society. Oxford University Press
    I argue that capitalism presents a threat to “democratic contestation”: the egalitarian, socially distributed capacity to affect how, why, and whether power is used. Markets are not susceptible to mechanisms of accountability, nor are they bearers of intentions in the way that political power-holders are. This makes them resistant to the kind of rational, intentional oversight that constitutes one of democracy’s social virtues. I identify four social costs associated with this problem: the vulnerability of citizens to arbitrary interference, the insensitivity (...)
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  2. Michael Fuerstein (2014). Democratic Consensus as an Essential Byproduct. Journal of Political Philosophy 22 (3):282-301.
    In this paper, I try to show that democratic consensus – one of the more prominent ideals in recent political thought – is an essential byproduct of epistemically warranted beliefs about political action and organization, at least in those cases where the issues under dispute are epistemic in nature. An essential byproduct (to borrow Jon Elster’s term) is a goal that can only be intentionally achieved by aiming at some other objective. In my usage, a political issue is epistemic when (...)
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  3. Michael Fuerstein (2013). Epistemic Trust and Liberal Justification. Journal of Political Philosophy 21 (2):179-199.
    In this paper I offer a distinctive epistemic rationale for the liberal practice of constant and ostentatious reason-giving in the political context. Epistemic trust is essential to democratic governance because as citizens we can only make informed decisions by relying on the claims of moral, scientific, and practical authorities around us. Yet rational epistemic trust is also uniquely fragile in the political context in light of both the radical inclusiveness of the relevant epistemic community (i.e., everyone who participates in the (...)
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  4. Michael Fuerstein (2013). Moral Perception, by Robert Audi. Faith and Philosophy 30 (4):476-479.
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  5. Michael Fuerstein (2008). Epistemic Democracy and the Social Character of Knowledge. Episteme 5 (1):pp. 74-93.
    How can democratic governments be relied upon to achieve adequate political knowledge when they turn over their authority to those of no epistemic distinction whatsoever? This deep and longstanding concern is one that any proponent of epistemic conceptions of democracy must take seriously. While Condorcetian responses have recently attracted substantial interest, they are largely undermined by a fundamental neglect of agenda-setting. I argue that the apparent intractability of the problem of epistemic adequacy in democracy stems in large part from a (...)
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