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Home DDC Blog General Naming the Goods: The Case for Reflective Discourse in a Democracy

Naming the Goods: The Case for Reflective Discourse in a Democracy

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The Project on Civic Reflection is hosting a scholarly examination of the meaning and value of reflective discourse. In October, they will bring together 15 scholar-practitioners to examine the nature and significance of reflective discourse in a democracy, with special attention to emerging models that use the arts and humanities to provoke reflection.

As one of the invitees, I have been asked to prepare a 2500 word essay exploring one of the questions below.

Central questions to be addressed

  1. How is reflective discourse similar to or different from individual acts of reflection? In what sense can both activities still be called ‘reflection’? What do we mean by ‘reflection’?
  2. Can we usefully talk about reflective discourse as something distinct from dialogue or deliberation? What are the differences?
  3. What is the role of reflection in a democracy?
  4. Can the arts and humanities play a special role in enabling reflection in a democracy? Have they played this role in American democracy?
  5. Does the practice of text-based discussion enable reflective discourse in especially useful or valuable ways?

I am thrilled to be included in this project and look forward to contributing to this research. The symposium will produce an anthology of essays, a companion webpage, and of course, connections with other scholar-practitioners. I welcome your thoughts about the above questions. See the complete symposium overview here.

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