A militant defence of democracy: A few replies to my critics

Cristina Lafont*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


In this essay, I address some questions and challenges brought about by the contributors to this special issue on my book ‘Democracy without Shortcuts’. First, I clarify different aspects of my critique of deep pluralist conceptions of democracy to highlight the core incompatibilities with the participatory conception of deliberative democracy that I defend in the book. Second, I distinguish different senses of the concept of ‘blind deference’ that I use in the book to clarify several aspects and consequences of my critique of epistocratic conceptions of democracy and their search for ‘expertocratic shortcuts’. This in turn helps me briefly address the difficult question of the proper role of experts in a democracy. Third, I address potential uses of empowered minipublics that I did not discuss in the book and highlight some reasons to worry about their lack of accountability. This discussion in turn leads me to address the difficult question of which institutions are best suited to represent the transgenerational collective people who are supposed to own a constitutional project. Finally, I address some interesting suggestions for how to move the book’s project forward.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)69-82
Number of pages14
JournalPhilosophy and Social Criticism
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2021


  • deliberative democracy
  • democratic legitimacy
  • disagreement
  • judicial review
  • participation
  • pluralism

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Philosophy
  • Sociology and Political Science


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