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  1. Against Epistocracy.Paul Gunn - 2019 - Critical Review: A Journal of Politics and Society 31 (1):26-82.
    ABSTRACTIn Against Democracy, Jason Brennan argues that public ignorance undermines the legitimacy of democracy because, to the extent that ignorant voters make bad policy choices, they harm their own and one another’s interests. The solution, he thinks, is epistocracy, which would leave policy decisions largely in the hands of social-scientific experts or voters who pass tests of political knowledge. However, Brennan fails to explain why we should think that these putative experts are sufficiently knowledgeable to avoid making errors as damaging (...)
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    Democracy and Epistocracy.Paul Gunn - 2014 - Critical Review: A Journal of Politics and Society 26 (1-2):59-79.
    ABSTRACTIn Democratic Reason, Hélène Landemore argues that deliberation and the aggregation of citizens' dispersed knowledge should tend to produce better consequences than rule by the one or the few. However, she pays insufficient attention to the epistemic processes necessary to realize these democratic goods. In particular, she fails to consider the question of where citizens' beliefs and ideas come from, with the result that the democratic decision mechanisms she focuses on are insufficiently powerful to justify her consequentialist defense of mass (...)
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    Looking But Not Seeing: The (Ir)Relevance of Incentives to Political Ignorance.Paul Gunn - 2015 - Critical Review: A Journal of Politics and Society 27 (3-4):270-298.
    ABSTRACTIlya Somin's Democracy and Political Ignorance represents a missed opportunity to fully examine the implications of public ignorance in modern democracies. Somin persuasively argues that existing levels of public ignorance undermine the main normative accounts of democratic legitimacy, and he demonstrates that neither cognitive shortcuts nor heuristics can provide a quick fix for democracy. However, Somin seeks to find a simple explanation for public ignorance in the conscious, rational choices of voters. He thus commits to the position that voters choose (...)
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    Political Epistemology Beyond Democratic Theory: Introduction to Symposium on Power Without Knowledge.Paul Gunn - 2020 - Critical Review: A Journal of Politics and Society 32 (1-3):1-31.
    ABSTRACT Jeffrey Friedman’s Power Without Knowledge builds a critical epistemology of technocracy, rather than a democratic argument against it. For its democratic critics, technocracy is illegitimate because it amounts to the rule of cognitive elites, violating principles of mutual respect and collective self-determination. For its proponents, technocracy’s legitimacy depends on its ability to use reliable knowledge to solve social and economic problems. But Friedman demonstrates that to meet the proponents' “internal,” epistemic standard of legitimacy, technocrats would have to reckon with (...)
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    Getting Democratic Priorities Straight: Pragmatism, Diversity, and the Role of Beliefs.Paul Gunn - 2015 - Critical Review: A Journal of Politics and Society 27 (2):146-173.
    ABSTRACTJack Knight and James Johnson argue in The Priority of Democracy that democracy should be theorized and justified pragmatically: Democratic deliberations should be given a central coordinating role in society not because they realize any particular abstract ideal, but because they would elicit the information needed to solve real-world problems. However, Knight and Johnson rely on a naïve economic understanding of knowledge that assumes implausibly that individuals know what they need to know and need only aggregate thier separate beliefs. It (...)
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