Epistemic Public Reason: A Formal Model of Strategic Communication and Deliberative Democracy

Paper by Brian Kogelmann and Benjamin Ogden: “Epistemic democrats argue that democratic institutions are uniquely suited to select optimal or good policies. Part of why this is so is due to the role deliberation plays in a well-functioning democracy. Yet deliberative democrats disagree about how democratic discourse ought to proceed. Thus, it is unclear what kind of deliberation the epistemic democratic thinks will aid in the selection of good policies.

This paper remedies this lacuna by developing a game theoretic model of competing theories of deliberative democracy found in the literature – what we broadly call shared discourse and open discourse. The model finds that there is a genuine trade-off between the two theories. Open discourse gives too much power to the (potentially arbitrary) first mover, while closed discourse has a tendency to over-implement potentially unjust reforms. We believe these results ought to shift where deliberative democrats focus their attention when debating which theory of democratic discourse is best…(More)”.