From Klemens Kappell, an interesting opportunity:
The Epistemology of Liberal Democracy
– truth, free speech and disagreement
With its emphasis on freedom of speech and inquiry and disagreement, liberal democracy may be viewed as a way of organising society that carries certain epistemological benefits. Liberal democracy promotes the acquisition of true beliefs, makes us less likely to adopt false beliefs, secures that the beliefs we do accept are known or justified rather than merely believed on authority. Yet, the epistemological dimension of liberal democracy is poorly understood, and it is far from obvious under what conditions the epistemological advantages of liberal democracy really ensues. The main aim of the research project is to contribute to an understanding of how various practices and social institutions of free speech and tolerance of diverging opinions contribute to the acquisition of true belief or knowledge, and related epistemic states. The research plan below details how we will address aspects of these questions. The output of the research project will be research papers published in scholarly journals and books, workshops and conferences for specialists of the international research community, as well as public outreach activities.
The project will focus on two naturally interconnected issues: freedom of speech and inquiry on the one hand, and diversity of opinion or disagreement on the other. Each is subdivided into several subquestions that form a cohesive structure of research questions consisting of four steps, starting from an elucidation of the epistemological properties of free speech to an analysis of the question of whom to trust when experts disagree. It is our aim to approach these questions in two distinct and mutually reinforcing ways, conceptual analysis and social simulation.