image from NYT 2018/05/08

Title: Public Deliberation and the Intellectual Dark Web - A Socio-epistemic Investigation

Abstract: There is something troubling particularly on epistemic grounds, to democratic deliberative theory, in the current proceduralist implication that, if public deliberative processes are ideal then all ideas are up for debate. Troubling because, as a normative upshot, we seem to be committing ourselves and our epistemic labour to the deliberation of topics which are, for example, already settled, unsettleable or lack any epistemically “good” reasons. In this thesis, I explore these so-called “what” questions and, by extending the proceduralist program to the “front-end” of public deliberation, I will offer a regulatory apparatus that will, along strictly epistemic lines, establish a more concise vision of what topics and ideas should and what topics and ideas should not be entered into public deliberation. As a result of scrutinising the IDW case study and the specifically epistemic issues that they present, I will promote and justify a set of “eligibility criteria for epistemic deliberation” that aims, as a project of normative applied epistemology, at regulating the topics and ideas that are put up for public deliberation based on their epistemic credentials.

Presenter: Russell Varley, HDR candidate in the School of Historical & Philosophical Inquiry and the Institute for Advanced Studies in the Humanities.