Public knowledge

Philosophy and Social Criticism 30 (2):139-157 (2004)
Authors
Noelle Claire McAfee
Emory University
Abstract
This paper argues that the public can do more than legitimate government; it can provide public knowledge for sound public policy. Critics of democracy worry that the public has too little objectivity and impartiality to know what is best. These critics have a point: taken one by one, people have little knowledge of the whole. For this reason, citizens need to escape the cloisters of kith and kin and enter a world of unlike others. They need to be open to other perspectives and concerns. They need to deliberate with others in public. In other words, an inchoate plurality of people needs to become public in order to develop a more comprehensive picture of the whole and to define ‘where the shoe pinches’. Democracy requires that the multitude deliberate publicly in order to create public knowledge by which sound public policy can be formed. Key Words: deliberation • democracy • John Dewey • Jürgen Habermas • legitimacy • particularity • perspectives • rational deliberative • proceduralism.
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DOI 10.1177/0191453704041241
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References found in this work BETA

Between Facts and Norms.Frank I. Michelman & Jurgen Habermas - 1996 - Journal of Philosophy 93 (6):307.
Political Liberalism.John Rawls - 1994 - Philosophical Quarterly 44 (177):542-545.
Public Opinion.Walter Lippmann - 1923 - International Journal of Ethics 33 (2):210-212.
The Public and its Problems.John Dewey - 1929 - Journal of Philosophy 26 (12):329-335.

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