Date of Award

Winter 12-15-2018

Author's School

Graduate School of Arts and Sciences

Author's Department

Political Science

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Degree Type



Many contributors to the literature on democratic theory argue that deliberative democratic procedures yield outcomes that are of a better quality than those produced by other decision-making processes. My work builds on these arguments, but it is distinctive in that focuses on what I identify as a set of deliberative habits, capacities, and dispositions—including reflectiveness, the ability and willingness to exercise imagination, and epistemic humility—which shape the ways that citizens talk to each other, and even more importantly, the ways they listen. Its central claim is that there are epistemic benefits to deliberating, but that in order for those benefits to be realized, citizens must be equipped with these capacities and dispositions. Tuning in and Tuning Out contributes to the literature on deliberative democracy in two main ways. First, it advances a normative argument for attention to, not only democratic institutions, but also civic skills and habits. Rather than ask, “How should a deliberative democratic system be structured?” it asks, “How should citizens interact in a deliberative democracy?” Second, it focuses on, not just talking, but also listening, arguing that the skills and the dispositions required to listen in appropriate ways are crucial to tapping deliberation’s epistemic potential.


English (en)

Chair and Committee

Clarissa Hayward

Committee Members

Ian MacMullen, Frank Lovett, Randall Calvert, Kit Wellmon,


Permanent URL: https://doi.org/10.7936/pwvr-pe89

Available for download on Thursday, December 15, 2118