Contemporary Political Theory 9 (1):25-44 (2010)

One of the most powerful but elusive motifs in pragmatist philosophy is the idea that a liberal democracy should be understood as a community of inquirers. This paper offers a critical appraisal of a recent attempt to make sense of this intuition in the context of contemporary political theory, in what may be called pragmatist political liberalism . Drawing together ideas from Rawlsian political liberalism, epistemic democracy and pragmatism, proponents of PPL argue that the pragmatist conception of inquiry can provide a satisfying interpretation of the idea of justificatory neutrality as it appears in political liberalism. This is contrasted with Dewey's understanding of the epistemic character of democracy, which is viewed as unacceptably sectarian. This paper identifies and criticizes the two principal lines of argument made in support of PPL: the clarification argument and the fixation argument. Neither of these lines of argument, it is argued, passes the test each sets itself. I argue that the latter closes down the epistemic openness in the justification of democracy that is central to pragmatism
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DOI 10.1057/cpt.2009.6
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References found in this work BETA

Political Liberalism.J. Rawls - 1995 - Tijdschrift Voor Filosofie 57 (3):596-598.
Is Water Necessarily H2O.Hilary Putnam - 1990 - In James Conant (ed.), Realism with a Human Face. Harvard University Press. pp. 54--79.
The Epistemology of Democracy.Elizabeth Anderson - 2006 - Episteme 3 (1-2):8-22.

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Citations of this work BETA

Sustaining Democracy: Folk Epistemology and Social Conflict.Robert B. Talisse - 2013 - Critical Review of International Social and Political Philosophy 16 (4):500-519.
An Epistemological Defense of Democracy.Robert B. Talisse - 2010 - Critical Review: A Journal of Politics and Society 22 (2-3):281-291.
Reply to Festenstein.Robert B. Talisse - 2010 - Contemporary Political Theory 9 (1):45-49.
Pragmatist Political Philosophy.Robert B. Talisse - 2014 - Philosophy Compass 9 (2):123-130.

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