Does epistemic proceduralism justify the disenfranchisement of children?

Jakob Hinze

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4 Citations (Scopus)


Most laypersons and political theorists endorse the claims that (1) all adults should be enfranchised and (2) all children should be disenfranchised. The first claim rejects epistocracy; the second is a commitment to a minimum voting age. I call the conjunction of these two claims mainstream democracy. In this paper, I argue that mainstream democracy is in a predicament: it cannot consistently maintain both (1) and (2). Given that we oppose epistocracy, we must endorse the enfranchisement of children. To make this point, I first develop what I take to be the most plausible argument for mainstream democracy, derived from David Estlund's epistemic proceduralism. In the second part of the paper, I explain why this argument fails. In the third part, I address some practical concerns about enfranchising children. I conclude that abandoning mainstream democracy is not problematic because the enfranchisement of children is unlikely to have harmful consequences.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)287
Number of pages305
JournalJournal of Global Ethics
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 7 Nov 2019


  • children
  • voting rights
  • epistemic proceduralism
  • democracy
  • epistocracy


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