Social Philosophy and Policy

Research Article

Why Deliberative Democracy is Different

Amy Gutmanna1 and Dennis Thompsona1

a1 Politics and University Center for Human Values, Princeton University Government, Harvard University

In modern pluralist societies, political disagreement often reflects moral disagreement, as citizens with conflicting perspectives on fundamental values debate the laws that govern their public life. Any satisfactory theory of democracy must provide a way of dealing with this moral disagreement. A fundamental problem confronting all democratic theorists is to find a morally justifiable way of making binding collective decisions in the face of continuing moral conflict.