Download Deliberative Freedom: Deliberative Democracy As Critical by Christian F. Rostboll PDF

By Christian F. Rostboll

The 1st sustained examine the connection among deliberative democratic thought and the subject of freedom.

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The objection I wish to counter is that the aim of reaching understanding in deliberation makes it impotent in face of illegitimate forms of consensus. 16 Or, to take a more fashionable example, the multicultural character of contemporary society might make every consensus seem to be an expression of the majority culture and hence oppressive and exclusionary. Both of these examples raise important concerns, but I shall argue, first, that these concerns are actually parasitic upon an idea of reaching agreement and do not constitute counterexamples; and, second, if the conflict of interests is not seen as one that comes about in the actual processes of deliberation, then the theorists who speak about them must operate with a paternalistic view of objective interests or objective identities.

By inherently being concerned with reasons or grounds, deliberation makes visible or public the underlying assumptions—cultural meanings, normative principles, factual assumptions, and so on—of our shared culture and makes them the object of reflection, consideration, and evaluation. The very core of deliberative democracy thus is a concern with the possibility of criticizing ideologies, biases, conventions, and the like. Questioning the validity of an utterance is to break the consensus, even if the aim is always to restore it later.

27 I might even prefer to live in a society in which all share my religion and still accept freedom of religion, because I realize that I can give no convincing reasons for why people who do not share my religious views should be forced to live in such a society. Or, to take a very different example, I can be convinced of a law securing pluralism in the media even if I prefer to watch only one TV station. 28 Preferences may sometimes change, because people realize that their preferences were based on insufficient information or 28 Deliberative Freedom bad reasoning, but this is not the main aim of deliberation.

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