Some Implications of Arguing that Deliberation is Purely Rational

Journal of the Indian Council of Philosophical Research 37 (3):303-321 (2020)
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In his proposal for a democracy by consensus, Wiredu argued that deliberation is an activity that depends solely on the logical persuasiveness of ideas. Emmanuel Chukwudi Eze and I had objected to this view of deliberation. Bernard Matolino has responded separately to Eze and me by sticking to Wiredu’s position that deliberation is a purely rational activity. In this article, I support my earlier claim that persuasion (and hence deliberation) is not an entirely logical activity, and our concern as human beings is to recognize the influence of non-rational factors, for the purpose of minimizing the role of these non-rational factors. My general aim here is to explore the implications of a counterfactual situation in which we assume that deliberation is a purely rational activity, and these implications are unpalatable even to proponents of deliberation as a purely rational activity. My conclusion is that it is only by recognizing the role of non-rational factors in deliberation that we are driven to institute mechanisms to ensure that logic dominates over non-rational factors as much as practicable in either persuading or in being persuaded. Assuming that deliberation is a purely rational activity, on the other hand, forestalls any measures and allows non-rational influences to fester undeterred.



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Cultural universals and particulars: an African perspective.Kwasi Wiredu - 1996 - Bloomington: Indiana University Press.
Against Deliberation.Lynn Sanders - 1997 - Political Theory 25 (3):347-376.
On Traditional African Consensual Rationality.Emmanuel Ifeanyi Ani - 2013 - Journal of Political Philosophy 22 (3):342-365.
Institutional ethics committees and health care decision making.Ronald E. Cranford & A. Edward Doudera (eds.) - 1984 - Ann Arbor, Mich.: Health Administration Press.
Ethics by committee: The moral authority of consensus.Jonathan D. Moreno - 1988 - Journal of Medicine and Philosophy 13 (4):411-432.

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