Laputa meets Habermas: Epistemic Democracy for Realistic Agents

Projekt: Forskning



Following the canonical work of Habermas’ discourse theory, deliberations’ outcome obtains legitimacy since all discussants are equal in participation and power. And, the unforced force of the better argument draws the group towards correct results. However, this assumption is an idealization. Under more realistic circumstances, there is the danger that less competent members drown out voices of more competent ones. Still, excluding people from debate violates fundamental principles of democracy and is highly undesirable from a social perspective. Besides equality, in Habermas’ ideal speech situation, a consensus is all participants’ goal and the end of successful deliberation. Thereby, discussants do not behave strategically or are dishonest. In contrast, not only may real people prioritize their individual interests, for which they may behave insincerely. Also, a consensus could be incorrect, and the group might be epistemically better off ending the discussion in a more unbalanced
state, where it takes its collective decision by aggregation. In other words,
ending deliberation not in its socially optimal state may increase its epistemic payoff.
The project studies these issues from the perspective of the Laputa model of deliberation developed by Angere and Olsson at Lund University. In a first phase, the focus will be on the role of experts in a deliberating group, and on the question to what extent the goal of consensus-building is compatible with epistemic goals.
Gällande start-/slutdatum2023/03/012024/03/01