Does democratic deliberation change minds?

Politics, Philosophy and Economics 5 (3):279-303 (2006)
Gerry Mackie
University of California, San Diego
Discussion is frequently observed in democratic politics, but change in view is rarely observed. Call this the ‘unchanging minds hypothesis’. I assume that a given belief or desire is not isolated, but, rather, is located in a network structure of attitudes, such that persuasion sufficient to change an attitude in isolation is not sufficient to change the attitude as supported by its network. The network structure of attitudes explains why the unchanging minds hypothesis seems to be true, and why it is false: due to the network, the effects of deliberative persuasion are typically latent, indirect, delayed, or disguised. Finally, I connect up the coherence account of attitudes to several topics in recent political and democratic theory. Key Words: deliberation • democracy • persuasion • change in view • coherence.
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DOI 10.1177/1470594X06068301
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