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In this study of democracy and its critics, the author debunks liberalism, arguing that its exaggerated ideals of authenticity, unity and community have deflected attention from the pervasive incompetence of "the rule of experts". He proposes a ground of communication that emphasizes common interests rather than narrow disputes. The problem of "unity" and the public sphere has driven a wedge between libertarians and communitarians. To mediate this conflict, Willard advocates a shift from the discourse of liberalism to that of epistemics. As a means of organizing the ebb and flow of consensus, epistemics regards democracy as a family of knowledge problems - as ways of managing discourse across differences and protecting multiple views. Building a bridge between warring peoples and warring paradigms, the book also reminds those who presume to instruct government that they are obliged to enlighten it, and that to do so requires an enlightened public discourse.

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Book Details

ISBN: 9780226898469
ISBN-10: 0226898466
Format: Paperback
(230mm x 150mm x 22mm)
Pages: 344
Imprint: University of Chicago Press
Publisher: The University of Chicago Press
Publish Date: 13-Aug-1996
Country of Publication: United States

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Author Biography - Charles Arthur Willard

Charles Willard is professor and chair of the Department of Communication at the University of Louisville.