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Licensed Unlicensed Requires Authentication Published by De Gruyter Oldenbourg December 22, 2021

Post-deliberative Democracy

  • Joseph Heath EMAIL logo
From the journal Analyse & Kritik


Within any adversarial rule-governed system, it often takes time for strategically motivated agents to discover effective exploits. Once discovered, these strategies will soon be copied by all other participants. Unless it is possible to adjust the rules to preclude them, the result will be a degradation of the performance of the system. This is essentially what has happened to public political discourse in democratic states. Political actors have discovered, not just that the norm of truth can be violated in specific ways, but that many of the norms governing rational deliberation can also be violated, not just without penalty, but often for significant political gain. As a result, the level of noise (false or misleading communications) has come to drown out the signal (earnest attempts at deliberation). The post-truth political condition is the cumulative result of innovations developed by actors who adopt an essentially strategic orientation toward political communications.

Corresponding author: Joseph Heath, Department of Philosophy, University of Toronto, Toronto, Canada, E-mail:


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Published Online: 2021-12-22
Published in Print: 2021-11-25

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