Normatywne modele przemian opinii publicznej

Michał Miklas


Normative Models of the Transformations of Public Opinion


The significance of the notion of public opinion for the modern political philosophy stems from the abolition of the evaluative distinction between knowledge and belief. Since democracy has been defined as the chief social value, particular opinions (beliefs, convictions) are no longer contrasted with objective knowledge but rather constitute matter, from which such a knowledge is formed in a rational and democratic process. This process cannot be limited to the aggregation and representation of opinions by political institutions. The normative model of the formation of public opinion must be a form to shape, from the formlessness of private beliefs, a public opinion which not only legitimizes but also programs the decision of the authority. To some extent, this also pertains to the problem of scientific knowledge. In the traditional Platonic sense, the process of the creation of knowledge (episteme), taking place by dianoia (discursive reasoning) or noesis (direct insight), yields to the development of historical scientific discourse within a community of researchers, for which the conditions of validity are to a large extent ethical. In this paper, two models of rational transformations of public opinion are distinguished, referred to as the Kantian and the Hegelian model. The former is purely normative and relies on the anticipation of the ideal state as the ultimate goal of thinking and communicating; the latter seeks rationality in the dialectic laws of historical development. Both these models are criticized from a post-Marxist position by E. Laclau and Ch. Mouffe, who reject the normative value of the notion of rationality, recognizing the irreducible nature of antagonism as the factor structuring the political space.

Keywords: public opinion, validity, rationality, agreement, antagonism.

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