Dewey's Ethical Justification for Public Deliberation Democracy

Education and Culture 29 (1):3-26 (2013)


John Dewey developed sophisticated theories for a liberal civil society and a deliberative democracy. These theories have recently enjoyed renewed attention, discussion, and practical application.1 However, no consensus on Dewey's primary theoretical strategies has yet emerged.2 What precisely was Dewey's justification for democracy and its superiority over other ways of life and forms of government? This essay explains how Dewey attempted to formulate a philosophical justification for democracy on ethical grounds, rather than just epistemic or satisfaction-maximization grounds alone. Provided with a solid ethical foundation, progressive and participatory democracy could become a practical, achievable, and highly ..

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John Shook
State University of New York, Buffalo

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