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Croatian Journal of Philosophy

Volume 20, Issue 2, 2020

Snježana Prijić Samaržija
Pages 183-197

The Epistemic Justification of Democracy

In the article, I am concerned with the epistemic justification of democracy: what does the epistemic justification of democracy consist of, and how can we assure that democracy indeed generates decisions of the highest epistemic quality? However, since it is impossible to speak about the epistemic justification of democracy without considering its relation to political justification, and their tension, this article will also question the relationship between epistemic and political justification. I endorse a position called the hybrid stance, not only because I think that, when justifying democracy, we need to consider both the political value of fairness and the epistemic values of truth-sensitivity and truth-conduciveness, but because I believe we should appropriately harmonize them. While the advocates of epistemic proceduralism hold that it best harmonizes the political and epistemic values of democracy, I argue that they do not separate epistemic values as intrinsically different from the political. On the other hand, even if we accept that epistemic justification is tied to intrinsically truth-respecting practices, the question remains which decision-making processes best satisfy this demand. In simpler terms, we must inquire how to divide epistemic labor between citizens and experts. I will try to show that the optimal model needs to preserve both the epistemic potential of the diversity present in the collective intelligence of citizens, and the epistemic potential of the factual knowledge embodied by the individual intelligence of experts.

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