Knowledge, Citizenship and Democracy
The Conference “Knowledge, Citizenship, Democracy” will be held on the April 14-16, 2021. This conference is fully online.
The ability of democratic societies to deal with knowledge responsibly seems under threat. In recent years, the public debate has been shaped by the denial of established scientific insights, distrust of experts, and an apparent preponderance of emotions over factual knowledge. Often, instead of agreeing on facts, and conducting political debates about values and interests, knowledge itself has become an area of political contestation.
But how should democratic societies deal with expert knowledge? Democracies are built on the assumption of moral equality; social differentiation, and with it the differentiation of knowledge, introduce an element of inequality. How can this fundamental tension be handled? Historically, claims to expertise have often been used to justify problematic forms of hierarchy and exclusion. But the answer can hardly be to deny all claims to differential expertise; instead, a democratic understanding of expertise is needed.