Thoughtless Assertion and Political Deliberation

Melissa A. Orlie

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Predominant views of political deliberation represent it as a matter either of “contemplation without interest” or of interest without contemplation. Whether we claim that political thinking can transcend power or that it is simply a vehicle for it, we abet a nihilistic political culture and authorize the thoughtless exercise of power. What each view denies—or insufficiently explores—is thinking's capacity to transfigure “interest” and power without pretending to transcend them. By contrast, political perspectivism incorporates multiple perspectives in an effort thoughtfully to respond to the will-to-power that attends our location in the world. We need political spaces if we are to become responsive agents of power, because we often can neither recognize the effects of our activities without the benefit of others' perspectives nor alter those effects by our efforts alone.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)684-695
Number of pages12
JournalAmerican Political Science Review
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 1994

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Political Science and International Relations

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