Faculty dean and professor of political philosophy, and Rudolf Agricoal fellow Lisa Herzog has released a new book 'Citizen Knowledge: Markets, Experts, and the Infrastructure of Democracy.'
Many democratic societies struggle with issues around knowledge: fake news spreads online and offline, and there is distrust of experts, but also fear of technocratic tendencies. Citizen Knowledge discusses how knowledge, understood in a broad sense, should be dealt with in societies that combine a democratic political system with a capitalist economic system.
How do citizens learn about politics? How do new scientific insights make their way into politics? What role can markets play in processing decentralized knowledge? The book takes on the perspective of 'democratic institutionalism,' which focuses on the institutions that enable an inclusive and stable democratic life.
It argues that the fraught relation between democracy and capitalism gets out of balance if too much knowledge is treated according to the logic of markets rather than democracy. Complex societies need different mechanisms for dealing with knowledge, among which markets, democratic deliberation, and expert communities are central.
Citizen Knowledge emphasizes the responsibility of bearers of knowledge and the need to support institutions that support active and informed citizenship.
It develops the vision of an egalitarian society that considers the use of knowledge in society not a matter of markets, but of shared democratic responsibility, supported by epistemic infrastructures. It contributes to political epistemology, a new subdiscipline of philosophy, with a focus on the interrelation between economic and political processes.
It analyzes the current situation, drawing on the history of ideas and on systematic arguments about the nature of knowledge and epistemic justice, developing proposals for reforms.
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