The pragmatist demos and the boundary problem

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Publication details

JournalRaisons Politiques
DateAccepted/In press - 2021
DatePublished (current) - 1 Feb 2021
Issue number1
Number of pages9
Pages (from-to)39-47
Original languageEnglish


The pragmatist argument that a democratic ethos and institutions are in some sense a form of inquiry remains one of the most powerful but elusive themes in its social and political thought. As a term and concept, democracy predates the modern state but the project of justifying democracy is paradigmatically a project of justifying it within and for the modern state. Drawing on Misak and Talisse’s important development of the inquiry argument, this article draws out how the pragmatist epistemic argument breaks with this traditional conception of democratic justification, and how its commitment to the removal of internal obstacles to epistemic inclusion provides general reasons to question political boundaries.

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