Intellectually Responsible Democracy
This project applies the philosophical theory of knowledge to democratic theory and practice. The central idea is that by reflecting on the nature of "intellectual responsibility" - a distinctive kind of responsibility we have for our intellectual lives - we can better understand and address the biggest hurdles to the effective exchange of ideas and decision-making in democratic societies. The project develops a detailed theory of intellectual responsibility and its place in public life. The project then puts this theory to work. In particular, it defends the idea that citizens of democratic societies are often not intellectually responsible in forming their political beliefs, and that this is, among other things, a core explanation of the kinds of disagreements in politics that make democratic decision-making so challenging. The project then asks: if this is the case, what should we do? One promising avenue for exploration is the democratic model known as "deliberative democracy". Roughly speaking, this is an approach that places emphasis on the importance of reasoned, respectful, and informed discourse in democratic decision-making. The project examines actual practical procedures that have been proposed by deliberative democrats in search of ways of minimizing the tendency of citizens to be intellectually irresponsible in their political beliefs. It also aims to defend this model against challenges by exploring the distinctive value of intellectual responsibility.