Sharing reasons and emotions in a non-ideal discursive system

Politics, Philosophy and Economics 22 (3):294-314 (2023)
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Abstract

This paper critically evaluates two aspects of Maxime Lepoutre's important book, Democratic Speech in Divided Times. First, I examine Lepoutre's approach to the shared reasons constraint—the requirement to offer shared reasons within public deliberation—and the place of emotions in public discourse. I argue that he, and indeed all who adopt such a highly inclusivist approach, face a dilemma that pushes him either to apply the shared reasons constraint more widely than he desires or to abandon it completely. I chart a course through this dilemma, but one that involves significant revisions to Lepoutre's position, particularly regarding the need for idealization. Second, I consider Lepoutre's use of the systemic approach to public discourse, which is central to many of his arguments, including his responses to critics of the discursive democratic ideal. Using his arguments regarding angry speech and dogmatic group cognition as illustrative, I highlight the somewhat speculative nature of these systemic arguments, which often rely on conjectures about how the system might operate, how its parts fit together, and how the system as a whole might attenuate seemingly problematic features of its component parts. This limits the ultimate persuasiveness of Lepoutre's responses to skepticism about democratic speech in our divided times.

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Paul Billingham
Oxford University

Citations of this work

Discursive optimism defended.Maxime Lepoutre - 2023 - Politics, Philosophy and Economics 22 (3):357-374.

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References found in this work

Political Liberalism.J. Rawls - 1995 - Tijdschrift Voor Filosofie 57 (3):596-598.
The Aptness of Anger.Amia Srinivasan - 2018 - Journal of Political Philosophy 26 (2):123-144.
The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.Edward N. Zalta (ed.) - 2014 - Stanford, CA: The Metaphysics Research Lab.
Liberalism’s Religion.Cécile Laborde (ed.) - 2017 - Harvard University Press.

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