Democratic Reason: Politics, Collective Intelligence, and the Rule of the Many

Democratic Reason: Politics, Collective Intelligence, and the Rule of the Many

by Hélène Landemore

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781400845538
Publisher: Princeton University Press
Publication date: 12/23/2012
Sold by: Barnes & Noble
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 304
File size: 808 KB

About the Author

Hélène Landemore is assistant professor of political science at Yale University. She is the author of Hume: Probability and Reasonable Choice.

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments xi
Prologue xv
CHAPTER ONE: The Maze and the Masses 1
  • 1. The Maze and the Masses 3
  • 2. On the Meaning of Democracy 10
  • 3. The Domain of Democratic Reason and the Circumstances of Politics 13
  • 4. Democratic Reason as Collective Intelligence of the People 17
  • 5. Overview of the Book 23


CHAPTER TWO: Democracy as the Rule of the Dumb Many? 27
  • 1. The Antidemocratic Prejudice in Contemporary Democratic Theory 29
  • 2. What's Wrong with the People? 31


CHAPTER THREE: A Selective Genealogy of the Epistemic Argument for Democracy 53
  • 1. The Myth of Protagoras: Universal Political Wisdom 55
  • 2. Aristotle's Feast: The More, the Wiser 59
  • 3. Machiavelli: Vox Populi, Vox Dei 64
  • 4. Spinoza: The Rational Majority 67
  • 5. Rousseau: The General Will Is Always Right 69
  • 6. Condorcet: Large Numbers and Smart Majorities 70
  • 7. John Stuart Mill: Epistemic Democrat or Epistemic Liberal? 75
  • 8. Dewey: Democracy and Social Intelligence 82
  • 9. Hayek: The Distributed Knowledge of Society 85


CHAPTER FOUR: First Mechanism of Democratic Reason: Inclusive Deliberation 89
  • 1. Deliberation: The Force of the Better Argument 90
  • 2. Deliberation as Problem Solving: Why More Cognitive Diversity Is Smarter 97
  • 3. Why More-Inclusive Deliberating Groups Are Smarter 104
  • 4. Representation 105
  • 5. Election versus Random Selection 108


CHAPTER FIVE: Epistemic Failures of Deliberation 118
  • 1. General Problems and Classical Solutions 120
  • 2. A Reply from Psychology: The Argumentative Theory of Reasoning 123
  • Conclusion 143


CHAPTER SIX: Second Mechanism of Democratic Reason: Majority Rule 145
  • 1. The Condorcet Jury Theorem 147
  • 2. The Miracle of Aggregation 156
  • 3. Models of Cognitive Diversity 160
  • Appendix 1: The Law of Large Numbers in the Condorcet Jury Theorem 166
  • Appendix 2: The Logic of Cognitive Diversity in Judgment Aggregation 169
  • Appendix 3: Information Markets and Democracy 173


CHAPTER SEVEN: Epistemic Failures of Majority Rule: Real and Imagined 185
  • 1. Politics of Judgment versus Politics of Interest and the Irrelevance of Arrow's Impossibility Theorem 185
  • 2. The Problem of Informational Free Riding 193
  • 3. The Problem of Voters' Systematic Biasesand Their "Rational Irrationality" 195
  • Conclusion 206


CHAPTER EIGHT: Political Cognitivism: A Defense 208
  • 1. Political Decision Making as Imperfect Procedural Justice 210
  • 2. Political Cognitivism: Weak versus Strong 211
  • 3. The Three Sides of Political Questions 213
  • 4. Political Cognitivism: Culturalist versus Absolutist 217
  • 5. Implications for the Epistemic Argument for Democracy 219
  • 6. Status of the Standard: Postulate or Empirical Benchmark? 219
  • 7. The Antiauthoritarian Objection 223
  • Conclusion 230


CONCLUSION: Democracy as a Gamble Worth Taking 232
  • 1. Summary 232
  • 2. Preconditions of Democratic Reason 233
  • 3. Limits of the Metaphor of the Maze 234
  • 4. Empirical Segue to the Theoretical Epistemic Claim 238
  • 5. The Wisdom of the Past Many and Democracy as a Learning Process 239
  • 6. Reason and Rationality 241


Bibliography 243
Index 265

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