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SAAP Annual Meeting 2018

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Thinking as Well as Possible about Democratic Political Economy

World-wide, conspiracy theorists propagating “false facts” on the internet have become major players in shaping public opinion, directly influencing the emotions, beliefs, and voting behavior of many citizens of liberal democracies toward supporting ethnocentric, authoritarian, populist leaders who propose anti-democratic public policies based on ignoring or misreading the empirical evidence. Critically considered with a pragmatist philosophical lens, a large, interdisciplinary body of recent social science research helps to explain why we humans are vulnerable to “false facts,” conspiracy theories, and biased thinking. It also suggests that more reliable tools and techniques for thinking well about democratic political economy must meet four experience-based tests. In general, intellectual tools and techniques that can help us think as well as humanly possible about democratic political economy—and help others to do likewise—are interdisciplinary, pluralistic, metis-valuing, public-inclusive, imagination-welcoming, capabilities-developing, culture-transforming, institution-directive, and democracy-deepening in context-specific ways.

Judith Green
Fordham University
United States


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