Deliberation, Democracy, and the Problem of Expertise
Cambridge University Press 2017
According to a challenge going back to Plato, democracy is unacceptable as a mode of political organization, because it distributes political power equally among those who are unequal in wisdom. Plato goes on to object that democracies are suspicious of the very idea of expertise in political matters. Long traditions in political philosophy have proposed various responses to Plato. According to a predominant trend in contemporary democratic theory, public deliberation can serve to meet Plato’s challenges. Yet appeals to public deliberation seem to reintroduce some of Plato’s worries. Does the commitment to public deliberation suggest, with Plato, that wisdom should rule? How can a democracy introduce an ideal of public deliberation that remains democratic? In Critical Elitism: Deliberation, Democracy, and the Problem of Expertise (Cambridge University Press, 2017), Alfred Moore examines the role of expertise in democratic deliberation. He defends the idea that the epistemic authority of experts derives its political force from processes of popular contestation.