Deliberative Reason: What should deliberation do? How is it achieved?

Deliberative Reason: What should deliberation do? How is it achieved?
Photo by Shelagh Murphy on Unsplash

This paper describes what deliberative ideals look like and how they can be achieved in practice, demonstrating how citizens can effectively deliberate together when the conditions are right. A theory of deliberative reason is outlined, involving the formation of metaconsensus, or mutual recognition of relevant considerations to be weighed. The integration of considerations into reasoning (without exception) via a shared “representation” of the issue results in measurable regularities of reason that forms the basis for the Deliberative Reason Index (DRI). Application of DRI to minipublic cases of varying design reveals conditions that improve deliberative reason as well as challenging a number of widely held assumptions—such as the primacy of deliberative exchange and the importance of influence on decision making. The findings also have implications beyond the forum, informing possibilities for improving deliberative performance at scale.

Simon Niemeyer is co-founder of the Centre for Deliberative Democracy and Global Governance. His research covers the broad field of deliberative democracy, with a focus on the use of empirical research to inform its theoretical foundations and understand how they translate into practical democratic innovations. He has contributed to the development of several pathbreaking concepts in the field, such as metaconsensus and discursive representation (both with John Dryzek) as well as developing innovative methods for the analysis of deliberation.

Date & time

Thu 11 May 2023, 11am–12.30pm


RSSS room 3.72 or Online via Zoom


Simon Niemeyer


Quynh Nguyen


Updated:  5 May 2023/Responsible Officer:  Head of School/Page Contact:  CASS Marketing & Communications