Qualified for Power? On Epistemology in Voting


Equal distribution of suffrage is given a nearly “quasi-religious” status by democrats. However, the right to vote rests on a presumption of capacity, and knowledge and competence therefore are important features of democratic arrangements. Democratic theory often assumes that, in order for (representative) democracy to work properly, the average citizen should be interested in, and pay attention to, politics. In reality, however, only a minority of citizens live up to these standards. This paper examines whether demands of uncontroversial knowledge, that is, knowledge about what it means to vote, can be demanded of voters in order for them to be allowed to vote. It is concluded that, for reasons of justice and “issues of mutual concern”, such demands can be raised regarding such uncontroversial knowledge (but perhaps not for knowledge more controversial in kind).

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Wiman, S. (2015) Qualified for Power? On Epistemology in Voting. Open Journal of Political Science, 5, 210-218. doi: 10.4236/ojps.2015.53022.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


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