Pluralism, Preferences, and Deliberation: A Critique of Sen's Constructive Argument for Democracy

Journal of Social Philosophy 44 (2):129-145 (2013)

Enzo Rossi
University of Amsterdam
In this paper we argue that Sen's defence of liberal democracy suffers from a moralistic and pro-liberal bias that renders it unable to take pluralism as seriously as it professes to do. That is because Sen’s commitment to respecting pluralism is not matched by his account of how to individuate the sorts of preferences that ought to be included in democratic deliberation. Our argument generalises as a critique of the two most common responses to the fact of pluralism in contemporary (i.e. post-Rawls) liberalism: a broadly procedural understanding of autonomy and the idea of deliberative democracy. That is to say, the difficulties with pluralism we identify can be traced back to the particular version of Kantian deontology prevalent in contemporary liberalism, and to the equally prevalent aspiration to ground political legitimacy in a moralised consensus.
Keywords Sen  Pluralism  Capability approach  deliberative democracy  liberalism
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1111/josp.12022
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

Our Archive

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 45,328
Through your library

References found in this work BETA

The Idea of Justice.Amartya Sen - 2009 - Belknap Press of Harvard University Press.
The Morality of Freedom.Joseph Raz - 1986 - Oxford University Press.
Inclusion and Democracy.Iris Marion Young - 2000 - Oxford University Press.
Why Deliberative Democracy?Amy Gutmann & Dennis Thompson - 2004 - Princeton University Press.

View all 27 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

Facts, Principles, and Politics.Enzo Rossi - 2016 - Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 19 (2):505-520.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles


Added to PP index

Total views
71 ( #121,204 of 2,280,259 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
1 ( #830,174 of 2,280,259 )

How can I increase my downloads?


My notes

Sign in to use this feature