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Epistocracy and Public Interests

Res Publica 28 (1):173-192 (2021)

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  1. There is no right to a competent electorate.Brian Kogelmann & Jeffrey Carroll - forthcoming - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy.
    This paper addresses the debate surrounding epistocracy. While many discussions of epistocracy focus on its instrumental defenses, this paper aims to critically examine the non-instrumental jury argument offered by Jason Brennan. Brennan’s argument equates the rights of individuals in political decisions to their rights in jury decisions, asserting that just as individuals have a right to a competent jury, they likewise have a right to a competent electorate. We disagree. By juxtaposing the costs of enforcing such rights and the severity (...)
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  • Demographic Objections to Epistocracy: A Generalization.Sean Ingham & David Wiens - 2021 - Philosophy and Public Affairs 49 (4):323-349.
    Several scholars have recently entertained proposals for "epistocracy," a political regime in which decision-making power is concentrated in the hands of a society's most informed and competent citizens. These proposals rest on the claim that we can expect better political outcomes if we exclude incompetent citizens from participating in political decisions because competent voters are more likely to vote "correctly" than incompetent voters. We develop what we call the objection from selection bias to epistocracy: a procedure that selects voters on (...)
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  • Are Knowledgeable Voters Better Voters?Michael Hannon - 2022 - Politics, Philosophy, and Economics 21 (1):29-54.
    It is widely believed that democracies require knowledgeable citizens to function well. But the most politically knowledgeable individuals also tend to be the most partisan, and the strength of partisan identity tends to corrupt political thinking. This creates a conundrum. On the one hand, an informed citizenry is allegedly necessary for a democracy to flourish. On the other hand, the most knowledgeable and passionate voters are also the most likely to think in corrupted, biased ways. What to do? This paper (...)
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  • Is Epistocracy Irrational?Adam F. Gibbons - 2022 - Journal of Ethics and Social Philosophy 21 (2).
    Proponents of epistocracy worry that high levels of voter ignorance can harm democracies. To combat such ignorance, they recommend allocating comparatively more political power to more politically knowledgeable citizens. In response, some recent critics of epistocracy contend that epistocratic institutions risk causing even more harm, since much evidence from political psychology indicates that more politically knowledgeable citizens are typically more biased, less open-minded, and more prone to motivated reasoning about political matters than their less knowledgeable counterparts. If so, perhaps epistocratic (...)
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