Deliberation Online: An Impediment Against Fundamentalism Offline?

The opposition between fundamentalism and deliberative democracy is basic to the argument of this article. In the following we shall take our point of departure in a procedural understanding of fundamentalism that enables us to see how different substantive values might turn out to be fundamentalist...

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Bibliographic Details
Published in:Oñati Socio-Legal Series
Main Author: Thorseth, May (Author)
Format: Electronic Article
Language:English
Published: 2011
In:Oñati Socio-Legal Series
Year: 2011, Volume: 1, Issue: 5, Pages: 1-19
Online Access: Volltext (Kostenfrei)
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Summary:The opposition between fundamentalism and deliberative democracy is basic to the argument of this article. In the following we shall take our point of departure in a procedural understanding of fundamentalism that enables us to see how different substantive values might turn out to be fundamentalist. Any form of communication that obstructs possible change of preferences might be fundamentalist. The decisive criterion is thus not to point out particular forms of communication as fundamentalist or deliberative per se; the decisive criterion is how the communication works. Based on our procedural understanding of fundamentalism we move on to argue in favour of a value pluralism that is basic to deliberative democracy. This pluralism is then contrasted to both fundamentalism and relativism. In order to establish value pluralism there is a need for judgment of particular norms and values – as opposed to merely understanding of the differences. Hence, it is argued that value pluralism requires substantive judgment of the differences. The arguments partly draw upon Jürgen Habermas’ idea of unconstrained discourse and Charles Taylor’s discussion of politics of recognition, along with Immanuel Kant’s concept of reflective judgment, or enlarged thought, in his third critique. In order to make legitimate judgments of particular norms and values we need to judge from the perspective of everyone else. The latter part of the article discusses how online contexts of communication contribute to global communication and deliberative democracy. Online polling, blogs and storytelling are forms of communication that may, under certain circumstances, make substantial contributions. James Fishkin’s idea of deliberative polling online and Robert Cavalier’s PICOLA project are discussed. In concluding it is argued that the virtual realities that are available online might be even more important than the democratic procedures per se in realising more enlarged thought and global democracy worldwide. Hence, global communication online might, under certain circumstances, work as an impediment against fundamentalist knowledge offline.
ISSN:2079-5971
DOI:10.15496/publikation-38293