DEMOCRATIC LEGITIMACY - Working agreement or rational consensus?
The quest for deliberative democracy is connected to the difficulties with what we for the sake of simplicity refer to as a voting model of democracy.1 This model holds elections and votes as the central features of democracy because they establish egalitarian structures of decision-making. Equal respect for citizens is secured by the aggregation of citizens’ preferences through neutral and fair institutions. It is through voting that the citizens’ will is expressed and it is through the organizational principle of parliamentary democracy - party competition and majority vote - that decisions can be made in a democratic way. I proceed by first spelling out the deliberative procedure and the reasons for deliberative democracy. Further, I approach the problem of democratic legitimacy and delineate two alternative readings of deliberative democracy – the ‘rationalistic’ and the ‘participatory’ one. Then I address Habermas’ epistemic account of the moral value of democratic procedures and the problem this poses for a viable conception of democratic legitimacy. I make the case for a weaker form of consensus as the criterion of democratic legitimacy - a working agreement resting upon different, but reasonable reasons.
- SPS - Notat 
Eriksen, Erik Oddvar