DELIBERATIVE DEMOCRATIC THEORY AND “THE FACT OF DISAGREEMENT”
Keywords:deliberative democracy, Habermas, Rawls, well-ordered society, disagreement, liberalism
The development of the theory of deliberative democracy is connected to the completion of two tasks. The first is to combine broad political participation with the rationality of the political process. The second is to ensure the political unity of modern societies, which are characterized by a pluralism of often incompatible values, norms, and lifestyles. Within the framework of this theory, the key democratic procedure is rational deliberation open to all interested parties. The purpose of this procedure is to reach an agreement, as stated in the theory of J rgen Habermas. However, experimental studies of deliberative practices show that they may result not in agree- ment but in the radicalization of positions.
Unlike Habermas, John Rawls believes that a consensus on values and norms is unattaina- ble. His theory of political liberalism attempts to answer the question of how political unity is possible in practically insoluble conflict, that is, in a situation of disagreement. He proposes the ideal of a well-ordered society with the assumption that a just society is one in which there is no agreement on comprehensive doctrines, but there is a consensus on the basic principles of jus- tice. However, Rawls’s theory, in turn, faces a number of significant problems. For example, he was forced to admit that the democratic culture of society is a prerequisite for the formation of basic principles of justice in a well-ordered society.
Rawls’s idea about the connections among disagreement, political freedom, and democra- cy influenced the further development of the theory of democracy, stimulating the search for different models of decision-making and the formation of political will without rational agree- ment. After all, the possibility of democracy lies in the conflict of ideas about justice and good.
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