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Democratic answers to complex questions - an epistemic perspective

Bovens, L and Rabinowicz, Wlodek LU (2006) In Synthese 150(1). p.131-153
Abstract
This paper addresses a problem for theories of epistemic democracy. In a decision on a complex issue which can be decomposed into several parts, a collective can use different voting procedures: Either its members vote on each sub-question and the answers that gain majority support are used as premises for the conclusion on the main issue (premise based-procedure, pbp), or the vote is conducted on the main issue itself (conclusion-based procedure, cbp). The two procedures can lead to different results. We investigate which of these procedures is better as a truth-tracker, assuming that there exists a true answer to be reached. On the basis of the Condorcet jury theorem, we show that the pbp is universally superior if the objective is to... (More)
This paper addresses a problem for theories of epistemic democracy. In a decision on a complex issue which can be decomposed into several parts, a collective can use different voting procedures: Either its members vote on each sub-question and the answers that gain majority support are used as premises for the conclusion on the main issue (premise based-procedure, pbp), or the vote is conducted on the main issue itself (conclusion-based procedure, cbp). The two procedures can lead to different results. We investigate which of these procedures is better as a truth-tracker, assuming that there exists a true answer to be reached. On the basis of the Condorcet jury theorem, we show that the pbp is universally superior if the objective is to reach truth for the right reasons. If one instead is after truth for whatever reasons, right or wrong, there will be cases in which the cbp is more reliable, even though, for the most part, the pbp still is to be preferred. (Less)
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author
organization
publishing date
type
Contribution to journal
publication status
published
subject
keywords
deliberative democracy, epistemic democracy, voting procedures, judgment aggregation, discursive dilemma, Condorcet jury theorem, pettit
in
Synthese
volume
150
issue
1
pages
131 - 153
publisher
Springer
external identifiers
  • wos:000237398000007
  • scopus:33646574929
ISSN
0039-7857
DOI
10.1007/s11229-006-0005-1
language
English
LU publication?
yes
id
df820fe9-e8d0-4bb2-bcba-96f88bcf6ccc (old id 409930)
date added to LUP
2007-10-01 09:01:39
date last changed
2017-09-03 04:41:16
@article{df820fe9-e8d0-4bb2-bcba-96f88bcf6ccc,
  abstract     = {This paper addresses a problem for theories of epistemic democracy. In a decision on a complex issue which can be decomposed into several parts, a collective can use different voting procedures: Either its members vote on each sub-question and the answers that gain majority support are used as premises for the conclusion on the main issue (premise based-procedure, pbp), or the vote is conducted on the main issue itself (conclusion-based procedure, cbp). The two procedures can lead to different results. We investigate which of these procedures is better as a truth-tracker, assuming that there exists a true answer to be reached. On the basis of the Condorcet jury theorem, we show that the pbp is universally superior if the objective is to reach truth for the right reasons. If one instead is after truth for whatever reasons, right or wrong, there will be cases in which the cbp is more reliable, even though, for the most part, the pbp still is to be preferred.},
  author       = {Bovens, L and Rabinowicz, Wlodek},
  issn         = {0039-7857},
  keyword      = {deliberative democracy,epistemic democracy,voting procedures,judgment aggregation,discursive dilemma,Condorcet jury theorem,pettit},
  language     = {eng},
  number       = {1},
  pages        = {131--153},
  publisher    = {Springer},
  series       = {Synthese},
  title        = {Democratic answers to complex questions - an epistemic perspective},
  url          = {http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s11229-006-0005-1},
  volume       = {150},
  year         = {2006},
}