Epistemic democracy and its challenges

Melissa Schwartzberg

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    Epistemic democracy defends the capacity of "the many" to make correct decisions and seeks to justify democracy by reference to this ability. Epistemic democrats marshal substantial evidence from the history of political thought and a set of models to support their claims. The essay assesses this evidence and argues in favor of more empirical testing. It also cautions against using the contextually limited evidence of wise decisions as a basis for justifying democratic decision making. Instead, the article sketches a "deflationary model" that relies on neither an independent standard of correctness nor the more ambitious assertions of the reliability of the mechanisms. That model, termed judgment democracy, retains epistemic democracy's attractive respect for individual judgments and concern with institutional design, while eschewing its least plausible features.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Pages (from-to)187-203
    Number of pages17
    JournalAnnual Review of Political Science
    StatePublished - May 11 2015


    • Condorcet Jury Theorem
    • Deliberation
    • Democratic institutions
    • Judgment
    • Legitimacy
    • Wise crowds

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Sociology and Political Science


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