Democratic Authority: A Philosophical Framework

Democratic Authority: A Philosophical Framework

Democratic Authority: A Philosophical Framework

Democratic Authority: A Philosophical Framework

Excerpt

There are different kinds of philosophy books. While some are written over a relatively short time, say a year, this one grows out of papers written over twenty years. Many books, including this one, bear down on a question (or several), scrutinizing existing arguments in detail and proposing improvements. This book, in addition to that, tries to develop a relatively elaborate theoretical framework—what I call epistemic proceduralism. There are advantages and disadvantages of both of these features, but in any case, the reader deserves advance notice. The relation between this work and my previous papers is a close one, but not a simple one. Only a few chapters (noted below) are close to original papers, while in most cases the ideas from previous pieces are interspersed throughout. In general, where the treatment in the book differs from the papers, it supersedes them. On the other hand, material has often been left out here for the sake of brevity and readability (I have tried to provide references where appropriate), not in order to retract it. Perhaps most important, especially for those who work as specialists in normative democratic theory, this book is not by any means merely a restatement of my earlier views. The approach to democracy developed here goes well beyond what I have said before, for better or for worse.

As for the book's attempt to develop a new theoretical framework, not just a better argument for this or that point, one consequence is that there are places where I offer only tentative or preliminary argumentation. I think this is unavoidable if the shape of the general approach is to be laid out clearly. I hope there is enough argument to lend promise to the overall approach of epistemic proceduralism. If so, there is more work to be done. This disclaimer is separate from a further point, one with which the book begins, concerning the idea of a philosophical framework, one that steers relatively clear of engagement with empirical social science and stops short of prescribing many institutional specifics. I say more about that in chapter 1.

Having worked on these questions over a long time, it would be impossible to remember and thank all the people to whom thanks are owed. The acknowledgments would run back to teachers and fellow students in graduate school at Wisconsin; through students and colleagues at my first job at the University of California, Irvine; and those . . .

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