Lisa Herzog

Feb 1, 2024

Citizen Knowledge

Markets, Experts, and the Infrastructure of Democracy

Oxford University Press 2023

For better or worse, democracy and epistemology are intertwined. For one thing, politics is partly a matter of gathering, assessing, and applying information. And this can be done responsibly or incompetently. At least since Plato, a leading critique of democracy has focused on the ignorance of ordinary citizens. Historically, this kind of critique has supplied the basis for several nondemocratic proposals. Yet it has also worked in the background of a range of views within democratic theory. Among these are views that have relied on markets as mechanisms for sharing and distributing information.

But there are hazards to market-based thinking about democracy. In Citizen Knowledge: Markets, Experts, and the Infrastructure of Democracy (Oxford UP, 2023), Lisa Herzog explores three conceptually distinct sites where democracy interfaces with epistemology: markets, expert communities, and public deliberation. The result is an integrated political epistemology for democracy.

Robert Talisse is the W. Alton Jones Professor of Philosophy at Vanderbilt University.

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