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Abstract

To what extent should the child’s point of view be included when a political community endeavors to make just decisions, and why? Democrats are committed to a principle of political inclusion grounded in equal respect for persons. Yet we regularly deny children the right to vote and we often just assume that the citizens doing the hard work of democratic deliberation are adults. As I will show, electoral conceptions of democracy can plausibly reconcile this tension in a way that requires no serious adjustment to the principle of inclusion. However, I also argue that a similar reconciliation seems unavailable to deliberative conceptions of democracy, and this fact has implications for how deliberative democrats should understand political inclusion and its relationship to the aims of schooling. I do this by providing a broad overview of deliberative conceptions of democracy, with a focus on some fundamental epistemic features of these conceptions, to explain why deliberative democrats must take a different approach. I then look at different arguments for children’s deliberative inclusion and propose an account of my own. Finally, I use this account in order to offer a different perspective on the aims of schooling under deliberative conceptions of democracy.

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