On the Compatibility of Epistocracy and Public Reason

Social Theory and Practice 41 (3):458-476 (2015)
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In "epistocratic" forms of government, political power is wielded by those who possess the knowledge relevant to good policymaking. Some democrats--notably, David Estlund--concede that epistocracy might produce better political outcomes than democracy but argue that epistocracy cannot be justified under public reason. These objections to epistocracy are unsound because they violate a viability constraint: they are also fatal to democracy and all other plausible political arrangements. Moreover, there is a problem with the public reason framework itself--a problem that can only be solved by providing a better definition for what makes an objection to a political arrangement a "reasonable" one.
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