If we are living in a "post-fact" age, how are we best to conceive of public discourse? Must one either futilely shout the facts louder and louder or must one turn away from facts, and thus rational discourse, altogether? This article defends a model of dialogue that shows a way to engage others in public discourse that avoids the facts versus violence dilemma and thus may prove more effective than deliberative strategies particularly in polarized situations. Drawing on Dewey, Plato, and Arendt, I argue that when citizens engage in dialogue as a noncontentious exchange about issues that matter to them, facts can recover their meaning. As a result, participants will feel less isolated and more empowered, and can be better prepared to engage in productive deliberative exchanges. Dialogue is a form of civic discourse that acknowledges our human condition of finitude and promotes a robust democratic pluralism.


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pp. 290-304
Launched on MUSE
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