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The Constitution of EqualityDemocratic Authority and Its Limits$
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Thomas Christiano

Print publication date: 2008

Print ISBN-13: 9780198297475

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2008

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198297475.001.0001

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Equality and Public Deliberation

Equality and Public Deliberation

(p.190) 5 Equality and Public Deliberation
The Constitution of Equality

Thomas Christiano (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

This chapter explains the value and function of public deliberation in a society that realizes public equality. Public deliberation has instrumental value in a democratic society since it leads to the development of an informed, rational, and morally sensitive citizenry. But once there is a process of public deliberation in place, justice requires that this process be an egalitarian process. An egalitarian process of deliberation expresses equal respect for every citizen, and ensures equality of opportunity to contribute to the formation of the agenda for collective decision making and equality in the cognitive conditions for citizen decision making. These basic ideas are grounded in the principle of public equality defended in this book. It argues against the further thesis that public deliberation ought to be constrained by the idea that citizens ought to be reasonable, or ought only to advance proposals on the basis of shared political ideas.

Keywords:   agenda setting, citizenship, cognitive conditions, justice, reasonable

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