Science and informed, counterfactual, democratic consent

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


On many science-related policy questions, the public is unable to make informed decisions, because of its inability to make use of knowledge obtained by scientists. Philip Kitcher and James Fishkin have both suggested therefore that on certain science-related issues, public policy should not be decided on by actual democratic vote, but should instead conform to the public’s counterfactual informed democratic decision (CIDD). Indeed, this suggestion underlies Kitcher’s specification of an ideal of a well-ordered science. This article argues that this suggestion misconstrues the normative significance of CIDDs. At most, CIDDs might have epistemic significance, but no authority or legitimizing force.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1284-1295
Number of pages12
JournalPhilosophy of Science
Issue number5
StatePublished - Dec 2015

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2015 by the Philosophy of Science Association. All rights reserved.

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • History
  • Philosophy
  • History and Philosophy of Science


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