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Fr. 884

April 17, 2019

A dissertation often seems more a matter of what one is unable to treat and so must leave out than it is a matter of what aims to do and so includes. My own sets out from a number of assumptions and turns away from foundational challenges which might reveal the entire endeavor to be unfounded.

Assumption 1: Deliberative democracy is a viable democratic theory and approach to political institutions in that it can overcome psychological phenomena affecting deliberation like motivated reasoning (Bagg 2018) and adaptive preferences (Terlazzo 2017).

Assumption 2: The systems approach to deliberative democracy is a distinct, sustainable contribution to this democratic theory and provides a new, determinative way forward which does not consist in a merely arid functionalism which allows one to cook the theoretical books or reinflate the democratic balloon to one’s liking.

Assumption 3: People are rightly invested in their efforts to search for shared reasons justifying state institutions and state actions, reasons which enable them to identify to some degree with those institutions and actions (contra Levy 2017).

Assumption 4: There exists something like a basic justificatory demand (Wolff 2019) which citizens both attempt and ought to meet in giving one another reasons for the arrangement of their political institutions, policies and statutes.

Were one to take away one of these assumptions, the project would be either be threefold longer or, instead, sorely undermotivated.

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