, Volume 17, Issue 3, pp 297-302
Date: 08 Feb 2011

Epistemic Responsibility and Democratic Justification

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Many political philosophers tend to take it as given that the justification for democracy rests upon specifying a set of moral commitments that all citizens reasonably can be expected to accept.

To offer several emblematic examples, John Rawls appeals to a shared fund of public political values—citizens ought to be regarded free and equal, society should constitute a fair scheme of mutual cooperation, all citizens must enjoy constitutionally enshrined rights and liberties—that are ‘not easily overridden' (2001, 189) even by compelling comprehensive considerations. Amy Gutmann and Dennis Thompson offer three basic principles that should regulate political processes (reciprocity, publicity, and accountability) and three comparable principles that should govern the content of policies (basic liberty, basic opportunity, and fair opportunity) (1996, 12). And Ronald Dworkin asserts that two principles, which embody the idea ‘that every human life is of intrinsic potential value and that every ...