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Social Theory and Practice

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published on March 4, 2020

Tim Heysse

Truth in Democratic Politics
An Analysis of Commitments

This article clarifies the recent epistemic rehabilitation of democracy and adds to it in two respects. First, I point out that the epistemic rehabilitation of democracy identifies an internal connection of democracy with normative truths—but only an external connection with substantial truth and correctness. Second, such an internal connection surfaces when we focus on the place of criticism in democracy. Criticism, however, presupposes pluralism and a recognition of the provisionality of decisions. So I, third, analyse prominent theories of truth and examine what conceptions of pluralism and provisionality they allow. This evokes a view emphasizing the unruly role of truth; criticism introduces a commitment to correctness, and this commitment to correctness underwrites the provisional nature of democratic decisions.

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