Public knowledge

Philosophy and Social Criticism 30 (2):139-157 (2004)
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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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Noelle Claire McAfee
Emory University

Citations of this work

In Defense of Democracy as a Way of Life: A Reply to Talisse's Pluralist Objection.Shane J. Ralston - 2008 - Transactions of the Charles S. Peirce Society 44 (4):629-659.

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References found in this work

The public and its problems.John Dewey - 1927 - Athens: Swallow Press. Edited by Melvin L. Rogers.
Delibration and democratic legitimacy.Joshua Cohen - 1989 - In Derek Matravers & Jonathan E. Pike (eds.), Debates in Contemporary Political Philosophy: An Anthology. Routledge, in Association with the Open University.
The Public and its problems.John Dewey - 1927 - Les Etudes Philosophiques 13 (3):367-368.

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