Acta Analytica 27 (2):199-216 (2012)

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Abstract
Political philosophers have been concerned for some time with the epistemic caliber of the general public, qua the body that is, ultimately, tasked with political decision-making in democratic societies. Unfortunately, the empirical data paints a pretty dismal picture here, indicating that the public tends to be largely ignorant on the issues relevant to governance. To make matters worse, social psychological research on how ignorance tends to breed overconfidence gives us reason to believe that the public will not only lack knowledge on the relevant issues, but also wisdom, in the Socratic sense of an awareness of your ignorance. It might be thought that an obvious remedy would be to increase the knowledge and wisdom of the public. However, as far as sound political decision-making and action is concerned, there is nothing particularly valuable about knowledge or wisdom per se—irrespective of what account of wisdom available in the literature we opt for. In fact, it might just be that what the public needs is nothing but the most basic epistemic good: true belief.
Keywords Knowledge  Wisdom  Overconfidence  Public ignorance
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DOI 10.1007/s12136-012-0157-1
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Knowledge and its Limits.Timothy Williamson - 2000 - Oxford University Press.
Epistemic Luck.Duncan Pritchard - 2005 - Oxford University Press UK.
Inclusion and Democracy.Iris Marion Young - 2000 - Oxford University Press.
Knowledge and Its Limits.Timothy Williamson - 2003 - Philosophical Quarterly 53 (210):105-116.

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