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Seeking Good Debate"Religion, Science, and Conflict in American Public Life"$
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Michael S. Evans

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780520285071

Published to California Scholarship Online: September 2016

DOI: 10.1525/california/9780520285071.001.0001

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Ordinary Americans and Good Debate

Ordinary Americans and Good Debate

(p.75) Chapter 5 Ordinary Americans and Good Debate
Seeking Good Debate

Michael S. Evans

University of California Press

This chapter argues that representatives and ordinary people disagree over what counts as good debate, refuting the explanation that representatives do what they do because ordinary people want them to do it. In contrast to representatives, ordinary people think that good debate means engagement and deliberation. The key problem in these debates is that representatives participate in ways that conflict with what ordinary persons expect. The result is that ordinary persons negatively evaluate representatives and debates on normative grounds. For example, elected politicians are discounted in public debate because they are seen as incapable or unwilling to engage meaningfully with serious issues.

Keywords:   good debate, representatives, ordinary people, engagement, deliberation, public debate

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