Philosophical Studies

, Volume 175, Issue 5, pp 1267–1288 | Cite as

Epistemic democracy: beyond knowledge exploitation

  • Julian F. MüllerEmail author


This essay criticizes the current approach to epistemic democracy. Epistemic democrats are preoccupied with the question of how a society can best exploit a given stock of knowledge. This article argues that the problem-solving capability of a society depends on two factors rather than one. The quality of decision-making depends both on how a democracy is able to make use of its stock of knowledge and on the size of the knowledge stock. Society’s problem-solving capability over time is therefore a function of its ability to develop its knowledge exploitation mechanisms and the growth rate of its knowledge stock. Based on this enhanced model of social problem-solving, this essay compares two different political ideal types: experimental democracy, as commonly defended by epistemic democrats; and polycentric democracy, a model defended most commonly by political economists.


Epistemic democracy Knowledge production Institutional epistemology Polycentric democracy 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Political Theory ProjectBrown UniversityProvidenceUSA

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