Talking politics: perils and promise

Robert E. Goodin

in Innovating Democracy

Published in print July 2008 | ISBN: 9780199547944
Published online September 2008 | e-ISBN: 9780191720116 | DOI:
Talking politics: perils and promise

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In its recent ‘deliberative’ turn, democratic theory has forgotten a conventional wisdom, once widely appreciated, that there is much in politics that is better not discussed. This chapter catalogues what topics might be deemed ‘politically undiscussable’, and why, as a first step toward showing how and to what extent talking about such matters might help or hinder their resolution. One important way discussion helps is by information-pooling helping to establish the truth of the matter. Even where that is not a viable aspiration, discussion might nonetheless serve a ‘premise-revealing’ function, showing one another that we are reasonable agents and in that way helping to desensitize contentious issues.

Keywords: deliberative democracy; undiscussable topics; information pooling; premise revealing; Condorcet Jury Theorem

Chapter.  12506 words. 

Subjects: Comparative Politics

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