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A Democratic Theory of Judgment$
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Linda M. G. Zerilli

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780226397849

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: September 2017

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226398037.001.0001

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Democracy and the Problem of Judgment

Democracy and the Problem of Judgment

One Democracy and the Problem of Judgment
A Democratic Theory of Judgment

Linda M. G. Zerilli

University of Chicago Press

This chapter lays out the basic conceptual vocabulary of the debate over political judgment in contemporary theory. It finds a strange affinity between neo-Kantians such as John Rawls and Juergen Habermas, on one side, and political affect theorists such as William Connolly and John Protevi, on the other side: namely, their deep distrust of ordinary modes of judging. This distrust is argued to be pervasive in democratic theory and is symptomatic of a broader skepticism towards that which is viewed as "merely" subjective in ordinary practices of judgment. Turning to Arendt, the chapter explores her refusal to treat judgment as a special ability of elites and her insistence that what makes a judgment political is not a certain object but the way in which the judgment proceeds. Arendt, refusing to define judging as either wholly subjective or wholly objective, draws on Kant's reflective conception of judging without the mediation of a concept and implicitly on Wittgenstein's radical view of rule-following. Through an ordinary conception of judging, she develops a unique conception of political objectivity that is attuned to the irreducibly subjective or affective dimension of such judging.

Keywords:   Hannah Arendt, political judgment, Ludwig Wittgenstein, democratic theory, noncognitivism

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