Saving Pragmatist Democratic Theory

Etica E Politica 12 (1):12-27 (2010)
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Abstract

Deweyan democracy is inherently comprehensive in the Rawlsian sense and therefore unable to countenance the fact of reasonable pluralism. This renders Deweyan democracy nonviable on pragmatic grounds. Given the Deweyan pragmatists’ views about the proper relation between philosophy and politics, unless there is a viable pragmatist alternative to Deweyan democracy, pragmatism itself is jeopardized. I develop a pragmatist alternative to Deweyan democracy rooted in a Peircean social epistemology. Peircean democracy can give Deweyan pragmatists all they should want from a democratic theory while avoiding the anti-pluralistic implications of Dewey’s own democratic theory. After presenting the arguments against Deweyan democracy and for Peircean democracy, I address a criticism of Peircean democracy recently posed by Matthew Festenstein

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Robert B. Talisse
Vanderbilt University

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