Deliberative democracy, according to Amy Gutmann and Jürgen Habermas, is a form of democracy in which deliberation is central to the idea of forming policy. It takes two essential elements. These include both decision-making and the concept of majority rule. Deliberative democracy is somewhat different from what one might call a traditional democratic theory. This is because deliberation, not mere voting, is the primary source of validity for policy and law. Deliberative democracy can also be viewed as some a form of a combination of representative democracy and direct democracy. Amy Gutmann and Jurgen Habermas use the term to describe representative types of government and political bodies, even if only a public collection of people, whose members deliberate on legislation and ideas with equal of power and representation or say. Because this form of democracy takes on only the form of a theory, may offer criticism of the ideas that both authors present. One powerful critique of the method of deliberative democracy is by Michel Foucault.
Amy Gutmann definition of deliberative democracy has both of the two elements that are found in most ideas of deliberative democracy stated above, decision-making and the concept of majority rule. She says that “a form of government in which free and equal citizens (and their representatives), justify decisions in a process in which they give one another reasons that are mutually acceptable and accessible, with the aim of reaching decisions that are binding on all at present but open to challenge in the future” (Gutmann, p. 7). She goes on to state that deliberative democracy has four requirements. These are also the reasons by which citizens and their representatives are expected to give to one another when making decisions. First, the reasons that people use to decide upon issue should be acceptable to free and equal people of the society. Second, the reasons must be provided in a public way, and the content must be understandable to the relevant audience. Third, the process by which the people lead to a decision or law that is enforced for a prolonged period. The people would not deliberate just to deliberate, but instead to make laws and rules that would govern for some time. Forth and finally, the participants would keep open the idea that they could or should change their minds. One strength of Gutmann’s form of the deliberative democratic model is that it can, in theory, generate ideal conditions of neutrality, rationality, and knowledge of only the relevant facts. In Gutmann’s theory, the more these several conditions are met by the people involved in the society, the higher the likelihood that the decisions reached are morally correct and concrete, thus majority rule is set. Deliberative democracy, under her theory, takes on the role of, what one might call, epistemic standing, where everything is not only law but the law as it is intended to be on an extremely rational level.
The normative theories of Deliberative democracy tend to produce outcomes which are superior to those in any other forms of democracy that have been conceived because they are the most rational. Deliberative democracy generates less predisposition and more sympathy with the views of the opposing parties and judgments. It also could be said to create more respect for evidence-based renationalizing rather than opinions without foundation on reality. It can also be a more significant obligation to the decisions taken by the people involved in the decision making, especially under Gutmann’s theory. There is a higher chance for widely shared consensus to emerge. Gutmann’s method of deliberative democracy is only one form of deliberative democracy. Jürgen Habermas has also conceived of such a way of government.
Habermas, within his work, critiques both the Liberal and Republican conceptions of democracy. He offers an alternative concept called deliberative democracy, which he believes to lack the flaws of the other two form of democracy. First, Habermas explains that Liberals regard of government as an intermediary between private interests, serving solely as a supporter of market security and personal opportunity. This is to say that such that private individuals may cooperate safely and efficiently according to their own individual will. Liberal democracy is a system of institutions which cumulatively create a collective will of all citizens into proportionally representative sections. This then translates it into policy that compromises or synthesizes accordingly. According to Habermas, this is flawed in that it will not produce a community. This is to say that a combination of individual wills, bound only by an institutional process and collective self-interest will never coalesce into a community with shared ethical norms and a unified sense of community. Habermas says democracy requires that a population of state exist, and thus the Liberal vision will never be truly democratic in his eyes.
According to Habermas, Republicans conceive of government as the activist arm of a political community. He states that the government is already has a single set of social goals and ethical, normative values. A government, he argues, that is under that of the Republican visions are also fundamentally teleological, according to Habermas. He also contends that this within this system, the fundamental role of institutions in this form of democracy or society should not be guardians of the market but as apparatuses for causing social change. Democracy in this form of government legitimately reflects and sufficiently pursues the ends of the State. Habermas states that the ethical element to the Republican tradition is correct, but finds it flawed for operating under the pre-conceived notion that any community could hold in a shared one set of social goals. A society without a strong plurality of coalitions pursuing incompatible political goals is impossible, argues Habermas. Therefore, Republicanism can be considered idealistic and more likely to produce a tyranny of the majority than democracy, in the eyes of Habermas.
Habermas then suggests that democracy is achieved through the establishment of a recognized deliberative sphere, having power imbalances controlled within society. This makes it so which individuals can reach a normative consensus based on the principles of reason alone much like the theory presented by Gutmann. The conclusions of this discourse can then be interpreted as rules of law and carried out by the different institutions of the society of government of the organization. This system, according to Habermas, keeps the Republican focus on shared societal norms but also preserves the acknowledgment of individual rights and the objectivity of Liberalism. In theory, Habermas creates a balance of the two first forms of governments described.
Habermas’ and Gutmann’s concepts of deliberative democracy can be critiqued by the state as it is found in Michel Foucault’s. Foucault argues that, while deliberative democracy is a theory of democracy that can provide normative knowledge about the legitimacy of any given system of democracy, it cannot generate knowledge that could inform the choice of strategies employed by others from civil society, especially deliberative democrats. Foucault argues that this kind of strategic knowledge about strengths and vulnerabilities of a given state or policy is driven by varying governing rationalities and not one single, overall rational decision. Habermas finds deliberative reason normatively acceptable under all circumstances and thus can be used to form a government. This approach would lack critical knowledge of both a normative and strategic, action-guiding nature.
Deliberative democracy, according to Amy Gutmann and Jürgen Habermas, is a form of democracy in which deliberation is central to the idea of forming policy. It takes two essential elements. These include both decision-making and the concept of majority rule that comes along with the plurality of people accepting the reasoning behind decisions. Deliberative democracy is somewhat different from what one might call a traditional democratic theory. As stated before, this is because deliberation, not voting, is the primary source of validity. Deliberative democracy can also be viewed as some a form of a combination of representative democracy and direct democracy, as we have seen through Habermas. Amy Gutmann and Jurgen Habermas use the term to describe representative types of government and political bodies, even if only a public collection of people, whose members deliberate on legislation and ideas with equal power and representation or say. Because this form of democracy takes on just the form of a theory, may offer criticism of the ideas that both authors present. One powerful critique of the method of deliberative democracy is by Michel Foucault.
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