Political deliberation and the challenge of bounded rationality

Politics, Philosophy and Economics 13 (3):269-291 (2014)
  Copy   BIBTEX


Many proponents of deliberative democracy expect reasonable citizens to engage in rational argumentation. However, this expectation runs up against findings by behavioral economists and social psychologists revealing the extent to which normal cognitive functions are influenced by bounded rationality. Individuals regularly utilize an array of biases in the process of making decisions, which inhibits our argumentative capacities by adversely affecting our ability and willingness to be self-critical and to give due consideration to others’ interests. Although these biases cannot be overcome, I draw on scientifically corroborated insights offered by Adam Smith to show that they can be kept in check if certain affective and cognitive capacities are cultivated. Smith provides a compelling account of how to foster sympathetic, impartial, and projective role-taking in the process of interacting with others, which can greatly enhance our capacity and willingness to critically assess our own interests and fairly consider those of others



    Upload a copy of this work     Papers currently archived: 76,346

External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server

Through your library

Similar books and articles


Added to PP

47 (#251,249)

6 months
2 (#299,341)

Historical graph of downloads
How can I increase my downloads?

Author's Profile

Andrew F. Smith
Drexel University

Citations of this work

Democratic deliberation, respect and personal storytelling.Valeria Ottonelli - 2017 - Critical Review of International Social and Political Philosophy 20 (5):601-618.
Societal Rationality: Bounded or Embedded?Michael J. DeMoor - 2019 - Philosophia Reformata 84 (2):171-193.

Add more citations

References found in this work

Justice as Fairness: A Restatement.John Rawls (ed.) - 2001 - Harvard University Press.
The Theory of Moral Sentiments.Adam Smith - 1759 - Dover Publications.
Political Liberalism.J. Rawls - 1995 - Tijdschrift Voor Filosofie 57 (3):596-598.

View all 56 references / Add more references