Deliberative Democracy and Autonomous Decision-Making

Stephen Elstub

in Towards a Deliberative and Associational Democracy

Published by Edinburgh University Press

Published in print April 2008 | ISBN: 9780748627394
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780748652716 | DOI:
Deliberative Democracy and Autonomous Decision-Making

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This chapter argues that the model of deliberative democracy is the best decision making method to cultivate the autonomy of all participants equally. Deliberative democracy can increase autonomy through compromise, which leads to decisions that all accept, and which respects the agency of all. It cultivates both hearer and speaker autonomy by increasing the availability of relevant information, allowing participants to express themselves freely and ensuring that the range of options on which they can vote reflects people’s rationally transformed references. The chapter considers three challenges to these justifications for deliberative democracy: the social-choice critique that a popular will cannot be identified; a challenge from difference democracy that deliberative democracy is inevitably biased against historically disadvantaged groups; and that deliberative democracy requires special obligations among citizens which it cannot itself ground.

Keywords: deliberative democracy; hearer autonomy; speaker autonomy; difference democracy

Chapter.  16774 words. 

Subjects: Politics

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