Volume 20, Issue 3, 2020
On Pietroski’s Conjoining Meanings
The Limits of Expertism
Snježana Prijić-Samaržija’s book discusses the epistemic grounding of democracy, stressing the epistemic role of experts in her political-epistemological favorite, the project of “reliability democracy”. Her proposal, inspired by Christiano, lets citizens play an important role in setting the aims, whereas experts deliberate about means of reaching them. I argue that it is not easy to reach consensus about goals and values. What is needed is democratic deliberation in deciding, encompassing both experts and laypersons. We should retain the duality of less ideal deliberation in real world and of hypothetical contractualist deliberation, within moral-political thought-experiments, in the tradition of Habermas and Scanlon in the ideal theory. I leave it open whether our author might ultimately agree with this picture of reliability democracy.