Sincerity is a key notion within theories of deliberative democracy and a crucial feature of those approaches to public reason that give deliberation a prominent role for the functioning of a just and legitimate democratic society. Indeed, among political theorists sympathetic to the deliberative project, sincerity has been defended in various manners: as a fundamental criterion of validity to identify shared social and political understandings (Habermas 1984); as a means to achieve the practical benefit of promoting free discussions and open debates (Freeman 2000, 383); as an expression of respect among citizens stating their equal membership in the sovereign political body (Cohen 1997, 416); as necessary to sustain the value of civic friendship (Rawls 1997); as an antidote to rhetoric and manipulation (Quong 2010, 265); as a tool to secure relations of trust among citizens and to generate shared commitments (Goodin 2008, 263). Despite such common appraisal of sincere behaviour in democratic deliberation, few theorists have put forward a clear and definite account for it. It seems that norms of sincerity are at most stipulated to solve problems linked with the moral integrity of citizens (Greenawalt 1988; Murphy 1998; Eberle 2002) or strategic actions (Cohen 1989). Two interesting and recent attempts to provide a distinct argument for sincerity in deliberation are Schwartzman’s Principle of sincerity in public justification (2011) and Gaus’s defence of convergence in public reason as a way to ensure sincerity in public discourse (2011, 288-292). In this paper, I question and reject both accounts. First, I tackle Schwartzman’s proposal and argue that both his conceptual and his instrumental arguments fail. Indeed, his principle is in tension with the idea of the wide view of public reason he defends and with the epistemological virtues he associates with deliberation. Secondly, I turn to Gaus and argue that convergence is incompatible with sincere deliberation because, although some sort of philosophical relativism about reasons might support it, it is nevertheless over-demanding and unrealistic in the actual context of deliberation he wants to address. In discussing such theories, I argue that sincerity, as a general notion, is not only controversial, but also practically irrelevant when it comes to the political domain. Indeed, in being linked with citizens’ intentions and inner mental states, which are impossible to ascertain, sincerity ends up being unworkable. As a substitute, I propose a principle of reliability in deliberation apt to achieve those political goods theorists have associated with sincerity. Drawing from Audi’s idea of reliability as a virtue (2008), I specify some normative features that citizens need to display in order to secure the possibility of deliberation and shelter mutual trust by excluding the possibility of tricking others. In the end, the reasons why we care about sincerity in deliberation concern the need to prevent manipulation and cheating among citizens. To achieve that, it is sufficient to use a less controversial and more parsimonious concept than that of sincerity, as the notion of reliability is.
Deliberation without sincerity / G. Bistagnino. ((Intervento presentato al 5. convegno Ethics and Politics tenutosi a Braga nel 2014.
|Titolo:||Deliberation without sincerity|
BISTAGNINO, GIULIA (Primo)
|Data di pubblicazione:||16-mag-2014|
|Parole Chiave:||deliberation; democracy; public reason; sincerity; reliability|
|Settore Scientifico Disciplinare:||Settore SPS/01 - Filosofia Politica|
|Enti collegati al convegno:||University of Minho|
|Citazione:||Deliberation without sincerity / G. Bistagnino. ((Intervento presentato al 5. convegno Ethics and Politics tenutosi a Braga nel 2014.|
|Appare nelle tipologie:||14 - Intervento a convegno non pubblicato|