Against Epistocracy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Jason Brennan has argued that democracy is intrinsically unjust, for it
grants voting power to politically incompetent individuals, thus exposing people to
an undue risk of harm. He claims democracy should be replaced by epistocracy, i.e.,
the rule of the knowers. In this paper, I show that his argument fails. First, Brennan
mistakes voters’ competence for voters’ trustworthiness. Second, despite Brennan’s
claim to the contrary, an epistocracy may not reduce people’s exposure to an undue risk of harm. Third, Brennan overlooks the fact that citizens are not equally affected by ‘bad voting.’ Fourth, far from being a defence of libertarian ideals, Brennan’s argument supports paternalism.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)199-216
Number of pages18
JournalSocial Theory and Practice
Volume44
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2018

Fingerprint

voting
democracy
paternalism
trustworthiness
citizen

Cite this

Moraro, Piero. / Against Epistocracy. In: Social Theory and Practice. 2018 ; Vol. 44, No. 2. pp. 199-216.
@article{2017037f6d014e5ba8a8df4b00576e17,
title = "Against Epistocracy",
abstract = "Jason Brennan has argued that democracy is intrinsically unjust, for itgrants voting power to politically incompetent individuals, thus exposing people toan undue risk of harm. He claims democracy should be replaced by epistocracy, i.e.,the rule of the knowers. In this paper, I show that his argument fails. First, Brennanmistakes voters’ competence for voters’ trustworthiness. Second, despite Brennan’sclaim to the contrary, an epistocracy may not reduce people’s exposure to an undue risk of harm. Third, Brennan overlooks the fact that citizens are not equally affected by ‘bad voting.’ Fourth, far from being a defence of libertarian ideals, Brennan’s argument supports paternalism.",
author = "Piero Moraro",
year = "2018",
month = "4",
doi = "10.5840/soctheorpract20185835",
language = "English",
volume = "44",
pages = "199--216",
journal = "Social Theory and Practice",
issn = "2154-123X",
publisher = "Florida State University",
number = "2",

}

Against Epistocracy. / Moraro, Piero.

In: Social Theory and Practice, Vol. 44, No. 2, 04.2018, p. 199-216.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

TY - JOUR

T1 - Against Epistocracy

AU - Moraro, Piero

PY - 2018/4

Y1 - 2018/4

N2 - Jason Brennan has argued that democracy is intrinsically unjust, for itgrants voting power to politically incompetent individuals, thus exposing people toan undue risk of harm. He claims democracy should be replaced by epistocracy, i.e.,the rule of the knowers. In this paper, I show that his argument fails. First, Brennanmistakes voters’ competence for voters’ trustworthiness. Second, despite Brennan’sclaim to the contrary, an epistocracy may not reduce people’s exposure to an undue risk of harm. Third, Brennan overlooks the fact that citizens are not equally affected by ‘bad voting.’ Fourth, far from being a defence of libertarian ideals, Brennan’s argument supports paternalism.

AB - Jason Brennan has argued that democracy is intrinsically unjust, for itgrants voting power to politically incompetent individuals, thus exposing people toan undue risk of harm. He claims democracy should be replaced by epistocracy, i.e.,the rule of the knowers. In this paper, I show that his argument fails. First, Brennanmistakes voters’ competence for voters’ trustworthiness. Second, despite Brennan’sclaim to the contrary, an epistocracy may not reduce people’s exposure to an undue risk of harm. Third, Brennan overlooks the fact that citizens are not equally affected by ‘bad voting.’ Fourth, far from being a defence of libertarian ideals, Brennan’s argument supports paternalism.

UR - https://www.pdcnet.org/pdc/bvdb.nsf/purchase?openform&fp=soctheorpract&id=soctheorpract_2018_0999_5_8_35

U2 - 10.5840/soctheorpract20185835

DO - 10.5840/soctheorpract20185835

M3 - Article

VL - 44

SP - 199

EP - 216

JO - Social Theory and Practice

JF - Social Theory and Practice

SN - 2154-123X

IS - 2

ER -