Limited epistocracy and political inclusion

Episteme 15 (4):412-432 (2017)
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ABSTRACTIn this paper I defend a form of epistocracy I call limited epistocracy – rule by institutions housing expertise in non-political areas that become politically relevant. This kind of limited epistocracy, I argue, isn't a far-off fiction. With increasing frequency, governments are outsourcing political power to expert institutions to solve urgent, multidimensional problems because they outperform ordinary democratic decision-making. I consider the objection that limited epistocracy, while more effective than its competitors, lacks a fundamental intrinsic value that its competitors have; namely, political inclusion. After explaining this challenge, I suggest that limited epistocracies can be made compatible with robust political inclusion if specialized institutions are confined to issuing directives that give citizens multiple actionable options. I explain how this safeguards citizens’ inclusion through rational deliberation, choice, and contestation.

Author's Profile

Anne Jeffrey
Baylor University


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