The Knowledge Tenet

Part of the Palgrave Studies in Ethics and Public Policy book series (PASEPP)


This chapter discusses positions that endorse the truth tenet (i.e. claim that political decisions can be right or wrong, true of false) but reject the knowledge tenet (i.e. claim that there are no experts in politics). Proponents of Pragmatist Deliberative Democracy thus claim that political decisions can be right or wrong, and that we should evaluate the decision-making system by its ability to produce correct decisions. However, since the relevant knowledge is distributed equally among citizens, and since public deliberation is the best means for arriving at correct decisions, we should favor deliberative democracy. This position is successful in defending the epistemic value of public deliberation, but not in the epistemic value of democracy as a collective decision-making procedure. The second position discussed in this chapter is Fabienne Peter’s Second-Personal Epistemic Democracy. This position endorses the truth tenet but, building upon epistemology of peer disagreement, claims that democratic procedures have some intrinsic epistemic qualities. I present arguments against the introduction of the concept of epistemic peerhood in the debate on political legitimacy and end the chapter arguing that the knowledge tenet should be granted.


Pragmatism Folk epistemology Deliberative democracy Epistemic peerhood Second-personal authority 


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© The Author(s) 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Faculty of Humanities and Social SciencesUniversity of RijekaRijekaCroatia

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