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Durham University

Department of Philosophy


Publication details for Professor Thom Brooks

Brooks, Thom (2009). A Critique of Pragmatism and Deliberative Democracy. Transactions of the Charles S. Peirce Society 45(1): 50-54.

Author(s) from Durham


Robert B. Talisse's A Pragmatist Philosophy of Democracy is a genuine tour de force. His aim is both to defend a particular view of pragmatism originating with the work of Charles Sanders Peirce and, at the same time, argue in favour of a new view of deliberative democracy developed from Talisse's Peircean pragmatism. The result is a stunning achievement with real persuasive power. In this article, I will focus on one worry, namely, that the picture of democracy on offer is incomplete. While Talisse correctly argues that democracy is about more than elections, democracy is also about more than deliberation between citizens. Talisse's deliberative democracy is problematic to the degree its view of deliberation fails to account for democracy. If my analysis is correct, then I do not aim to demonstrate that Talisse's Peircean pragmatism is incorrect, only incomplete. Thus, the hope of this article is to help develop this pragmatism further.