Public Deliberation: Pluralism, Complexity, and Democracy

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MIT Press, 2000 - Philosophy - 303 pages
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How can we create a vital and inclusive pluralistic democracy? Public Deliberation offers answers to this question by showing how democratic theory and democratic practice can be remade to face new challenges. Arguing against the skepticism about democracy that flourishes today on both ends of the political spectrum, James Bohman proposes a new model of public deliberation that will allow a renewed expansion of democratic practice, even in the face of increasing pluralism, inequality, and social complexity.Bohman builds on early Critical Theory and on the recent work of Jurgen Habermas and John Rawls (while taking into consideration criticisms of their work) to create a picture of a richer democratic practice based on the public reasoning of citizens. Starting with a pragmatic account of how deliberation actually works to promote agreements and cooperation, he develops a realistic model of deliberation by gradually introducing and analyzing the major tests facing deliberative democracy: cultural pluralism, social inequalities, social complexity, and community-wide biases and ideologies. The result is a new understanding of the ways in which public deliberation can be extended to meet the needs of modern societies."

  

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Contents

What Is Public Deliberation? A Dialogical Account
23
Public Deliberation and Cultural Pluralism
71
Deliberative Inequalities
107
Social Complexity Deliberative Majorities and
151
Social Critics Collective Actors and Public
197
Deliberative Democracy and Its Critics
237
References
285
Index
299
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About the author (2000)

James Bohman is Danforth Professor of Philosophy at Saint Louis University. He is the author, editor, or translator of many books.

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