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Between Rhetoric and Public Reason: on the normative foundations of democratic deliberations (2007-2008)

Field of study: Political Science

In this study I will argue that the deliberative democratic accounts, with their insistence on the mandatory use of a strong version of public reason in political justification, tend to articulate in an increasingly restrictive way the normative dimension of political theorizing. This article tries to convey a critique of this condition, and to suggest that a renewed interest in the political tradition of rhetoric and in the institutional circumstances that make possible political persuasion, can point to a richer alternative for the reconfiguration of the normative foundations of contemporary political philosophy.
For the purposes of this study, I will refer to some of the recent trends in contemporary analytical political theorizing – yet without pretending or aiming for any kind of exhaustive taxonomy/typology of the main theories of democracy. Pointing out these recent developments in political theory is relevant because these accounts identify and define themselves
in opposition to each other, and because the literature is rich in cross-references among their proponents. Moreover, the academic landscape in political theory and many of the current debates revolve around the problems and conceptual tools adopted by these accounts.

Keywords: political philosophy, political theory,

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