Episteme 1 (2020)

Authors
Michael Bennett
University of Oxford
Michael Bennett
Utrecht University
Abstract
The public sphere should be regulated so the distribution of political speech does not correlate with the distribution of income or wealth. A public sphere where people can fund any political speech from their private holdings is epistemically defective. The argument has four steps. First, if political speech is unregulated, the rich predictably contribute a disproportionate share. Second, wealth tends to correlate with substantive political perspectives. Third, greater quantities of speech by the rich can “drown out” the speech of the poor, because of citizens’ limited attention span for politics. Finally, the normative problem with all this is that it reduces the diversity of arguments and evidence citizens become familiar with, reducing the quality of their political knowledge. The clearest implication of the argument is in favour of strict contribution limits and/or public funding for formal political campaigns, but it also has implications for more informal aspects of the public sphere.
Keywords Democratic Theory  Deliberative Democracy  Capitalism and Democracy  Epistemic Democracy  Political Epistemology  Money in Politics
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DOI 10.1017/epi.2020.42
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References found in this work BETA

Justice as Fairness: A Restatement.John Rawls (ed.) - 2001 - Harvard University Press.
Against Democracy: New Preface.Jason Brennan - 2016 - Princeton University Press.
On Liberty.JOHN STUART MILL - 1956 - In Steven M. Cahn (ed.), Exploring Philosophy: An Introductory Anthology. Oxford University Press. pp. 519-522.

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