Skilled Rhetoricians, Experts, Intellectuals and Inventors: Kitcher and Dewey on public knowledge and ignorance

Transactions of the Charles S. Peirce Society 53 (2):167 (2017)
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In the last chapter of The Public and its Problems John Dewey outlines the alleged fallacy of "the democratic creed". According to him the fallacy is described as conflating emancipation with the capacity to rule, i.e. the capacity to make policy decisions. His point is that the power to make decisions does not entail a capacity to make good choices. Capable are those in the know, the experts who are "intellectually qualified". The answer to the fallacy is to propose epistocracy: The rule of experts – as Walter Lippman had come close to arguing. But Dewey tries to refute the argument for epistocracy. He rehearses the old platonic wisdom that the harmonious state...

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Jon Olafsson
University of Iceland


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