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Science in DemocracyExpertise, Institutions, and Representation$
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Mark B. Brown

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780262013246

Published to MIT Press Scholarship Online: August 2013

DOI: 10.7551/mitpress/9780262013246.001.0001

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Consent and Competence in Representative Government

Consent and Competence in Representative Government

Chapter:
(p.65) 3 Consent and Competence in Representative Government
Source:
Science in Democracy
Author(s):

Mark B. Brown

Publisher:
The MIT Press
DOI:10.7551/mitpress/9780262013246.003.0026

Seventeenth-century science was closely affiliated with monarchy and opposed to democracy because of improper political implications. During the eighteenth century, elements allied with early modern science played a significant role in the evolution of liberal theories of representative government. Furthermore, the connections between these issues and consent and competence in government representation are discussed in detail. This chapter shows how democracy derives from a time when most people believed it necessarily led to majority autocracy. This historical endowment suggests that finding a place for science within representative democracy depends on reviewing the relationships among science, democracy, and representation. The later parts of the chapter focus especially on Rousseau’s philosophy and The Federalist, which points to an epistemic section of labor at the soul of the liberal theory of representative government. The chapter concludes by discussing liberal theories of representative government’s importance, shortcomings, and suggestions.

Keywords:   liberal theories, representative government, autocracy, Rousseau’s philosophy, The Federalist, monarchy, democracy, public consent

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