Dewey and Goodin on the Value of Monological Deliberation

Ethica and Politica 12 (1):235-255 (2010)
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Most contemporary deliberative democrats contend that deliberation is the group activity that transforms individual preferences and behavior into mutual understanding, agreement and collective action. A critical mass of these deliberative theorists also claims that John Dewey’s writings contain a nascent theory of deliberative democracy. Unfortunately, very few of them have noted the similarities between Dewey and Robert Goodin’s theories of deliberation, as well as the surprising contrast between their modeling of deliberation as a mixed monological-dialogical process and the prevalent view expressed in the deliberative democracy literature, viz., that deliberation is predominantly a dialogical process. Both Dewey and Goodin have advanced theories of deliberation which emphasize the value of internal, monological or individual deliberative procedures, though not to the exclusion of external, dialogical and group deliberation. In this paper I argue that deliberative theorists bent on appropriating Dewey’s theory of moral deliberation for political purposes should first consider Goodin’s account of ‘deliberation within’ as a satisfactory if not superior proxy, an account of deliberation which has the identical virtues of Dewey’s theory— imaginative rehearsal, weighing of alternatives and role-taking—with the addition of one more, namely, that it operates specifically within the domain of the political



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Shane Ralston
University of Ottawa (PhD)

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References found in this work

Three normative models of democracy.Jürgen Habermas - 1994 - Constellations 1 (1):1-10.
Democratic Deliberation Within.Robert E. Goodin - 2000 - Philosophy and Public Affairs 29 (1):81-109.
Introduction.William Rehg - 1997 - Modern Schoolman 74 (4):255-257.
Deliberative Democracy as a Matter of Public Spirit: Reconstructing the Dewey-Lippmann Debate.Shane J. Ralston - 2002 - Proceedings of the Kent State University May 4th Philosophy Graduate Student Conference 1 (1):1-9.
Value, objective reference and criticism.John Dewey - 1925 - Philosophical Review 34 (4):313-332.

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