Colloquium: The place of expertise in liberal democracies

Colloquium by Klemens Kappel (University of Copenhagen; Ethical Council)
15.30 – 17.00 h, room b4.140, TPM-building, TU Delft


This work-in-progres presentation outlines a view of the place of experts in liberal democracies that is constituted by the particular division of cognitive and deliberative labour that is characteristic of liberal democracies. On this background, I address one (among several) area(s) where the existence of experts is thought somehow to be in conflict with certain normative ideals of democracy. This is the suggestion that just as a liberal democracy should remain neutral between at least some views of the good (or some normative views), so the liberal state should in some sense remain epistemically neutral between at least some competing factual views. I argue that the question of epistemic neutrality is a pressing concern for the liberal democrat, despite the almost complete lack of attention this question has received in recent political philosophy. I my presentation I shall offer a defence of the view that liberal democracy should not remain epistemically neutral, despite its commitment to certain forms of value neutrality.