Epistemic Democracy Without Truth: The Deweyan Approach

Raisons Politiques (forthcoming)
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Abstract
In this essay I situate John Dewey’s pragmatist approach to democratic epistemology in relation to contemporary “epistemic democracy.” Like epistemic democrats, Dewey characterizes democracy as a form of social inquiry. But whereas epistemic democrats suggest that democracy aims to “track the truth,” Dewey rejects the notion of “tracking” or “corresponding” to truth in political and other domains. For Dewey, the measure of successful decision-making is not some fixed independent standard of truth or correctness but, instead, our own reflective satisfaction with the practical results. I argue that this approach better reconciles epistemic democracy with traditional models of popular authority (“the will of the people”) and bolsters the defenses of the epistemic democrat against elitist alternatives.
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Archival date: 2019-08-13
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