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  1. Elizabeth Anderson (2008). An Epistemic Defense of Democracy: David Estlund's Democratic Authority. Episteme 5 (1):pp. 129-139.
    In Democratic Authority, David Estlund 2008 presents a major new defense of democracy, called epistemic proceduralism. The theory claims that democracy exercises legitimate authority in virtue of possessing a modest epistemic power: its decisions are the product of procedures that tend to produce just laws at a better than chance rate, and better than any other type of government that is justifiable within the terms of public reason. The balance Estlund strikes between epistemic and non-epistemic justifications of democracy is open (...)
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  2. Richard Bradley (2007). Reaching a Consensus. Social Choice and Welfare 29:609-632.
    This paper explores some aspects of the relation between aggregation and deliberation as ways of achieving a consensus amongst a group of indviduals on some set of issues. I argue firstly that the framing of an aggregation problem itself generates information about the judgements of others that individuals are rationally obliged to take into account. And secondly that the constraints which aggregation theories typically place on consensual or collective judgements need not be consistent with the outcomes of rational deliberative processes (...)
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  3. Allen Buchanan (2004). Political Liberalism and Social Epistemology. Philosophy and Public Affairs 32 (2):95–130.
  4. Larissa Conradt, Christian List & Timothy J. Roper, Swarm Intelligence: When Uncertainty Meets Conflict.
    When animals share decisions with others, they pool personal information, offset individual errors and, thereby, increase decision accuracy. This is termed ‘swarm intelligence.’ But what if those decisions involve conflicts of interest between individual decision-makers? Should animals share decisions with individuals whose goals are different from, and partially in conflict with, their own? A group decision model developed by Larissa Conradt (MPI Berlin) and colleagues finds that, contrary to intuition, conflicting goals often increase both decision accuracy and the individual gains (...)
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  5. Franz Dietrich & Christian List, Probabilistic Opinion Pooling Generalised -- Part Two: The Premise-Based Approach.
    How can different individuals' probability functions on a given sigma-algebra of events be aggregated into a collective probability function? Classic approaches to this problem often require 'event-wise independence': the collective probability for each event should depend only on the individuals' probabilities for that event. In practice, however, some events may be 'basic' and others 'derivative', so that it makes sense first to aggregate the probabilities for the former and then to let these constrain the probabilities for the latter. We formalize (...)
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  6. Franz Dietrich & Christian List, Probabilistic Opinion Pooling.
    Suppose several individuals (e.g., experts on a panel) each assign probabilities to some events. How can these individual probability assignments be aggregated into a single collective probability assignment? This article reviews several proposed solutions to this problem. We focus on three salient proposals: linear pooling (the weighted or unweighted linear averaging of probabilities), geometric pooling (the weighted or unweighted geometric averaging of probabilities), and multiplicative pooling (where probabilities are multiplied rather than averaged). We present axiomatic characterisations of each class of (...)
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  7. Franz Dietrich & Christian List (2010). The Aggregation of Propositional Attitudes: Towards a General Theory. Oxford Studies in Epistemology 3.
    How can the propositional attitudes of several individuals be aggregated into overall collective propositional attitudes? Although there are large bodies of work on the aggregation of various special kinds of propositional attitudes, such as preferences, judgments, probabilities and utilities, the aggregation of propositional attitudes is seldom studied in full generality. In this paper, we seek to contribute to filling this gap in the literature. We sketch the ingredients of a general theory of propositional attitude aggregation and prove two new theorems. (...)
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  8. Franz Dietrich & Christian List (2007). Arrow's Theorem in Judgment Aggregation. Social Choice and Welfare 29 (1):19-33.
    In response to recent work on the aggregation of individual judgments on logically connected propositions into collective judgments, it is often asked whether judgment aggregation is a special case of Arrowian preference aggregation. We argue for the converse claim. After proving two impossibility theorems on judgment aggregation (using "systematicity" and "independence" conditions, respectively), we construct an embedding of preference aggregation into judgment aggregation and prove Arrow’s theorem (stated for strict preferences) as a corollary of our second result. Although we thereby (...)
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  9. Franz Dietrich & Christian List (2004). A Model of Jury Decisions Where All Jurors Have the Same Evidence. Synthese 142 (2):175 - 202.
    Under the independence and competence assumptions of Condorcet’s classical jury model, the probability of a correct majority decision converges to certainty as the jury size increases, a seemingly unrealistic result. Using Bayesian networks, we argue that the model’s independence assumption requires that the state of the world (guilty or not guilty) is the latest common cause of all jurors’ votes. But often – arguably in all courtroom cases and in many expert panels – the latest such common cause is a (...)
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  10. Franz Dietrich & Christian List, Judgment Aggregation by Quota Rules: Majority Voting Generalized.
  11. John S. Dryzek & Christian List (2004). Social Choice Theory and Deliberative Democracy : A Response to Aldred. British Journal of Political Science 34 (4):752-758.
    Jonathan Aldred shares our desire to promote a reconciliation between social choice theory and deliberative democracy in the interests of a more comprehensive and compelling account of democracy.1 His comments on some details of our analysis – specifically, our use of Arrow’s conditions of universal domain and independence of irrelevant alternatives – give us an opportunity to clarify our position. His discussion of the independence condition in particular identifies some ambiguity in our exposition, and as such is useful. We are (...)
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  12. Cynthia Farrar, James S. Fishkin, Donald P. Green, Christian List, Robert C. Luskin & Elizabeth Levy Paluck, Disaggregating Deliberation's Effects: An Experiment Within a Deliberative Poll.
    Using data from a randomized field experiment within a Deliberative Poll, we examine deliberation’s effects on both policy attitudes and the extent to which ordinal rankings of policy options approach single-peakedness (a help in avoiding cyclical majorities). The issues were airport expansion and revenue-sharing in New Haven, Connecticut and its surrounding towns. Half the participants deliberated revenue-sharing, then the airport, the other half the reverse. This split-half design enables us to distinguish the effects of the formal on-site deliberations from those (...)
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  13. Robert E. Goodin & Christian List (2006). A Conditional Defense of Plurality Rule: Generalizing May's Theorem in a Restricted Informational Environment. American Journal of Political Science 50 (4):940-949.
    May's theorem famously shows that, in social decisions between two options, simple majority rule uniquely satisfies four appealing conditions. Although this result is often cited in support of majority rule, it has never been extended beyond decisions based on pairwise comparisons of options. We generalize May's theorem to many-option decisions where voters each cast one vote. Surprisingly, plurality rule uniquely satisfies May's conditions. This suggests a conditional defense of plurality rule: If a society's balloting procedure collects only a single vote (...)
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  14. Mark Hannam (2013). Bentham Was Right. [REVIEW] Times Literary Supplement (5774):37.
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  15. Christian List, When to Defer to Supermajority Testimony — and When Not.
    Pettit (2006) argues that deferring to majority testimony is not generally rational: it may lead to inconsistent beliefs. He suggests that “another ... approach will do better”: deferring to supermajority testimony. But this approach may also lead to inconsistencies. Here I identify the conditions under which deference to supermajority testimony ensures consistency, and those under which it does not. I also introduce the new concept of ‘consistency of degree k’, which is weaker than full consistency by ruling out only ‘blatant’ (...)
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  16. Christian List (2012). Judgment Aggregation: A Short Introduction. In U. Maki (ed.), Handbook of the Philosophy of Economics. Elsevier.
    The aim of this article is to introduce the theory of judgment aggregation, a growing interdisciplinary research area. The theory addresses the following question: How can a group of individuals make consistent collective judgments on a given set of propositions on the basis of the group members' individual judgments on them? I begin by explaining the observation that initially sparked the interest in judgment aggregation, the so-called "doctinal" and "discursive paradoxes". I then introduce the basic formal model of judgment aggregation, (...)
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  17. Christian List (2012). The Theory of Judgment Aggregation: An Introductory Review. Synthese 187 (1):179-207.
    This paper provides an introductory review of the theory of judgment aggregation. It introduces the paradoxes of majority voting that originally motivated the field, explains several key results on the impossibility of propositionwise judgment aggregation, presents a pedagogical proof of one of those results, discusses escape routes from the impossibility and relates judgment aggregation to some other salient aggregation problems, such as preference aggregation, abstract aggregation and probability aggregation. The present illustrative rather than exhaustive review is intended to give readers (...)
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  18. Christian List (2011). Group Communication and the Transformation of Judgments: An Impossibility Result. Journal of Political Philosophy 19 (1):1-27.
    While a large social-choice-theoretic literature discusses the aggregation of individual judgments into collective ones, there is much less formal work on the transformation of judgments in group communication. I develop a model of judgment transformation and prove a baseline impossibility theorem: Any judgment transformation function satisfying some initially plausible conditions is the identity function, under which no opinion change occurs. I identify escape routes from this impossibility and argue that the kind of group communication envisaged by deliberative democats must be (...)
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  19. Christian List (2011). The Logical Space of Democracy. Philosophy and Public Affairs 39 (3):262-297.
    April 2011 Can we design a perfect democratic decision procedure? Condorcet famously observed that majority rule, our paradigmatic democratic procedure, has some desirable properties, but sometimes produces inconsistent outcomes. Revisiting Condorcet’s insights in light of recent work on the aggregation of judgments, I show that there is a conflict between three initially plausible requirements of democracy: “robustness to pluralism”, “basic majoritarianism”, and “collective rationality”. For all but the simplest collective decision problems, no decision procedure meets these three requirements at once; (...)
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  20. Christian List (2006). The Discursive Dilemma and Public Reason. Ethics 116 (2):362-402.
    Political theorists have offered many accounts of collective decision-making under pluralism. I discuss a key dimension on which such accounts differ: the importance assigned not only to the choices made but also to the reasons underlying those choices. On that dimension, different accounts lie in between two extremes. The ‘minimal liberal account’ holds that collective decisions should be made only on practical actions or policies and that underlying reasons should be kept private. The ‘comprehensive deliberative account’ stresses the importance of (...)
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  21. Christian List (2006). Republican Freedom and the Rule of Law. Politics, Philosophy and Economics 5 (2):201-220.
    At the core of republican thought, on Philip Pettit’s account, lies the conception of freedom as non-domination, as opposed to freedom as noninterference in the liberal sense. I revisit the distinction between liberal and republican freedom and argue that republican freedom incorporates a particular rule-of-law requirement, whereas liberal freedom does not. Liberals may also endorse such a requirement, but not as part of their conception of freedom itself. I offer a formal analysis of this rule-of-law requirement and compare liberal and (...)
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  22. Christian List (2004). The Impossibility of a Paretian Republican? Some Comments on Pettit and Sen. Economics and Philosophy 20 (1):65-87.
    Philip Pettit (2001) has suggested that there are parallels between his republican account of freedom and Amartya Sen's (1970) account of freedom as decisive preference. In this paper, I discuss these parallels from a social-choice-theoretic perspective. I sketch a formalization of republican freedom and argue that republican freedom is formally very similar to freedom as defined in Sen's “minimal liberalism” condition. In consequence, the republican account of freedom is vulnerable to a version of Sen's liberal paradox, an inconsistency between universal (...)
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  23. Christian List (2004). On the Significance of the Absolute Margin. British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 55 (3):521-544.
    that a defendant is guilty (a patient has condition C), and the evidence E that a majority of h out of n independent jurors (diagnostic tests) have voted for H, and a minority of k n – h against H. How likely is the majority verdict to be correct? By Condorcet's formula, the probability that H is true given E depends only on each juror's competence and on the absolute margin between the majority and the minority h – k, but (...)
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  24. Christian List (2003). Are Interpersonal Comparisons of Utility Indeterminate? Erkenntnis 58 (2):229 - 260.
    On the orthodox view in economics, interpersonal comparisons of utilityare not empirically meaningful, and ``hence'' impossible. To reassess this view, this paper draws onthe parallels between the problem of interpersonal comparisons of utility and the problem of translation of linguisticmeaning, as explored by Quine. I discuss several cases of what the empirical evidence for interpersonal comparisonsof utility might be and show that, even on the strongest of these, interpersonal comparisons are empiricallyunderdetermined and, if we also deny any appropriate truth of (...)
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  25. Christian List (2002). Intradimensional Single-Peakedness and the Multidimensional Arrow Problem. Theory and Decision 52 (3):287-301.
    Arrow's account (1951/1963) of the problem of social choice is based upon the assumption that the preferences of each individual in the relevant group are expressible by a single ordering. This paper lifts that assumption and develops a multidimensional generalization of Arrow's framework. I show that, like Arrow's original framework, the multidimensional generalization is affected by an impossibility theorem, highlighting not only the threat of dictatorship of a single individual, but also the threat of dominance of a single dimension. In (...)
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  26. Christian List, A Model of Path-Dependence in Decisions Over Multiple Propositions.
    I model sequential decisions over multiple interconnected propositions and investigate path-dependence in such decisions. The propositions and their interconnections are represented in propositional logic. A sequential decision process is path-dependent if its outcome depends on the order in which the propositions are considered. Assuming that earlier decisions constrain later ones, I prove three main results: First, certain rationality violations by the decision-making agent – individual or group – are necessary and sufficient for path-dependence. Second, under some conditions, path-dependence is unavoidable (...)
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  27. Christian List, The Voting Power Approach : A Theory of Measurement. A Response to Max Albert.
    Max <span class='Hi'>Albert</span> (2003) has recently argued that the theory of power indices “should not ... be considered as part of political science” and that “[v]iewed as a scientific theory, it is a branch of probability theory and can safely be ignored by political scientists”. <span class='Hi'>Albert</span>’s argument rests on a particular claim concerning the theoretical status of power indices, namely that the theory of power indices is not a positive theory, i.e. not one that has falsifiable implications. I re-examine (...)
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  28. Christian List, Democracy in Animal Groups: A Political Science Perspective.
  29. Christian List, Some Remarks on the Probability of Cycles.
    Although the pairwise Condorcet winner criterion may seem an attractive democratic decision procedure, it is famously threatened by Condorcet's paradox: pairwise majority voting may lead to cyclical collective preferences. But how probable is the occurrence of cycles?
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  30. Christian List, A Note on Measuring Preference Structuration.
    The concept of preference structuration not only provides possible escape-routes from socialchoice-theoretic impossibility problems, but also points towards ways of formalizing notions of 'pluralism', 'consensus' and 'issue-dimensionality'. The present note introduces two methods of (operationally) measuring preference structuration, giving attention to both their conceptual characteristics and their computational feasibility. The method to be advocated, called the 'fractionalization' approach, combines well-known social-choice-theoretic criteria of preference structuration (such as single-peakedness or value-restriction) with the frequently used Rae-Taylor (1970) and Laakso-Taagepera (1979) approaches towards (...)
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  31. Christian List, Multidimensional Welfare Aggregation.
    Most accounts of welfare aggregation in the tradition of Arrow's (1951/1963) and Sen's (1970/1979) social-choice-theoretic frameworks represent the welfare of an individual in terms of a single welfare ordering or a single scalar-valued welfare function. I develop a multidimensional generalization of Arrow's and Sen's frameworks, representing individual welfare in terms of multiple personal welfare functions, corresponding to multiple 'dimensions' of welfare. I show that, as in the one-dimensional case, the existence of attractive aggregation procedures depends on certain informational assumptions, specifically (...)
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  32. Christian List, Two Concepts of Agreement.
    A central problem of democracy is the aggregation of divergent individual inputs into overall collective decisions. Social-choice-theoretic impossibility results famously demonstrate the intractability of a large class of such aggregation problems. This paper develops a taxonomy of two concepts of agreement, agreement at a substantive level and agreement at a meta-level, and discusses the escape-routes these concepts open up from the impossibility problems of social choice. Specifically, two contexts of democratic aggregation are addressed: first, the familiar context of preferences, and (...)
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  33. Christian List, The Epistemology of Special Majority Voting: Why the Proportion is Special Only in Special Conditions.
    I am grateful to Geoffrey Brennan, Campbell Brown, Franz Dietrich, <span class='Hi'>Christian</span> Elsholtz, Robert Goodin, Frank Jackson and David Soskice for very helpful comments and suggestions; and to the participants of a Social and Political Theory seminar at the ANU in February 2003 and the participants of a conference panel of the Australasian Association of Philosophy at the University of Adelaide in July 2003 for comments and discussion.
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  34. Christian List, Group Decisions in Humans and Animals: A Survey.
    Receive free email alerts when new articles cite this article - sign up in the box at the top here right-hand corner of the article or click..
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  35. Christian List, A Simple Proof of Sen's Possibility Theorem on Majority Decisions.
    Condorcet’s voting paradox shows that pairwise majority voting may lead to cyclical majority preferences. In a famous paper, Sen (1966) identified a general condition on a profile of individual preference orderings, called triplewise value-restriction, which is sufficient for the avoidance of such cycles. This note aims to make Sen’s result easily accessible. We provide an elementary proof of Sen's possibility theorem and a simple reformulation of Sen’s condition. We discuss how Sen’s condition is logically related to a number of precursors. (...)
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  36. Christian List, The Probability of Inconsistencies in Complex Collective Decisions.
    Many groups make decisions over multiple interconnected propositions. The “doctrinal paradox” or “discursive dilemma” shows that propositionwise majority voting can generate inconsistent collective sets of judgments, even when individual sets of judgments are all consistent. I develop a simple model for determining the probability of the paradox, given various assumptions about the probability distribution of individual sets of judgments, including impartial culture and impartial <span class='Hi'>anonymous</span> culture assumptions. I prove several convergence results, identifying when the probability of the paradox converges (...)
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  37. Christian List, Collective Wisdom: Lessons From the Theory of Judgment Aggregation.
    Can collectives be wise? The thesis that they can has recently received a lot of attention. It has been argued that, in many judgmental or decision-making tasks, suitably organized groups can outperform their individual members. In particular, it has been suggested that groups are good at meeting what I call the correspondence challenge (as in correspondence with the facts): By pooling information that is dispersed among the individual members, a group can arrive at judgments that accurately track some independent truths (...)
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  38. Christian List, Deliberation and Agreement.
    How can collective decisions be made among individuals with conflicting preferences or judgments? Arrow’s impossibility theorem and other social-choice-theoretic results suggest that, for many collective decision problems, there are no attractive democratic solutions. In response, deliberative democrats argue that group deliberation makes collective decisions more tractable. How can deliberation accomplish this? In this chapter, I explore the distinction between two different types of agreement and discuss how they can facilitate collective decision making. Deliberative democrats have traditionally defended the hypothesis that (...)
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  39. Christian List & Franz Dietrich, Judgment Aggregation by Quota Rules: Majority Voting Generalized.
    Journal of Theoretical Politics 19(4) (in press).
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  40. Christian List & Franz Dietrich, Opinion Pooling on General Agendas.
  41. Christian List & John Dryzek (2003). Social Choice Theory and Deliberative Democracy: A Reconciliation. British Journal of Political Science 33 (1):1-28.
    The two most influential traditions of contemporary theorizing about democracy, social choice theory and deliberative democracy, are generally thought to be at loggerheads, in that the former demonstrates the impossibility, instability or meaninglessness of the rational collective outcomes sought by the latter. We argue that the two traditions can be reconciled. After expounding the central Arrow and Gibbard-Satterthwaite impossibility results, we reassess their implications, identifying the conditions under which meaningful democratic decision making is possible. We argue that deliberation can promote (...)
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  42. Christian List, Christian Elsholtz & Thomas Seeley (2009). Independence and Interdependence in Collective Decision Making: An Agent-Based Model of Nest-Site Choice by Honey Bee Swarms. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B 364:755-762.
    Condorcet's classic jury theorem shows that when the members of a group have noisy but independent information about what is best for the group as a whole, majority decisions tend to outperform dictatorial ones. When voting is supplemented by communication, however, the resulting interdependencies between decision-makers can strengthen or undermine this effect: they can facilitate information pooling, but also amplify errors. We consider an intriguing non-human case of independent information pooling combined with communication: the case of nest-site choice by honey (...)
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  43. Christian List & Robert E. Goodin (2001). Epistemic Democracy: Generalizing the Condorcet Jury Theorem. Journal of Political Philosophy 9 (3):277–306.
    This paper generalises the classical Condorcet jury theorem from majority voting over two options to plurality voting over multiple options. The paper further discusses the debate between epistemic and procedural democracy and situates its formal results in that debate. The paper finally compares a number of different social choice procedures for many-option choices in terms of their epistemic merits. An appendix explores the implications of some of the present mathematical results for the question of how probable majority cycles (as in (...)
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  44. Christian List & Daniel Harbour, Optimality Theory and the Problem of Constraint Aggregation.
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  45. Christian List & Mathias Koenig-Archibugi (2010). Can There Be a Global Demos? An Agency-Based Approach. Philosophy and Public Affairs 38 (1):76-110.
    Can there be a global demos? The current debate about this topic is divided between two opposing camps: the “pessimist” or “impossibilist” camp, which holds that the emergence of a global demos is either conceptually or empirically impossible, and the “optimist” or “possibilist” camp, which holds that the emergence of a global demos is conceptually as well as empirically possible and an embryonic version of it already exists. However, the two camps agree neither on a common working definition of a (...)
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  46. Christian List, Robert C. Luskin, James S. Fishkin & Iain McLean (2013). Deliberation, Single-Peakedness, and the Possibility of Meaningful Democracy: Evidence From Deliberative Polls. Journal of Politics 75 (1):80–95.
    Majority cycling and related social choice paradoxes are often thought to threaten the meaningfulness of democracy. But deliberation can prevent majority cycles – not by inducing unanimity, which is unrealistic, but by bringing preferences closer to single-peakedness. We present the first empirical test of this hypothesis, using data from Deliberative Polls. Comparing preferences before and after deliberation, we find increases in proximity to single-peakedness. The increases are greater for lower versus higher salience issues and for individuals who seem to have (...)
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  47. Christian List & Philip Pettit (2005). On the Many as One: A Reply to Kornhauser and Sager. Philosophy and Public Affairs 33 (4):377–390.
    In a recent paper on ‘The Many as One’, Lewis A. Kornhauser and Lawrence G. Sager look at an issue that we take to be of great importance in political theory. How far should groups in public life try to speak with one voice, and act with one mind? How far should public groups try to display what Ronald Dworkin calls integrity? We do not expect the many on the market to be integrated in this sense. But should we expect (...)
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  48. Christian List & Philip Pettit (2004). Aggregating Sets of Judgments: Two Impossibility Results Compared. Synthese 140 (1-2):207 - 235.
    The ``doctrinal paradox'' or ``discursive dilemma'' shows that propositionwise majority voting over the judgments held by multiple individuals on some interconnected propositions can lead to inconsistent collective judgments on these propositions. List and Pettit (2002) have proved that this paradox illustrates a more general impossibility theorem showing that there exists no aggregation procedure that generally produces consistent collective judgments and satisfies certain minimal conditions. Although the paradox and the theorem concern the aggregation of judgments rather than preferences, they invite comparison (...)
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  49. Christian List & Philip Pettit (2004). An Epistemic Free-Riding Problem? In Philip Catton & Graham Macdonald (eds.), Karl Popper: Critical Appraisals. Routledge.
    One of the hallmark themes of Karl Popper’s approach to the social sciences was the insistence that when social scientists are members of the society they study, then they are liable to affect that society. In particular, they are liable to affect it in such a way that the claims they make lose their validity. “The interaction between the scientist’s pronouncements and social life almost invariably creates situations in which we have not only to consider the truth of such pronouncements, (...)
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  50. Christian List & Philip Pettit (2002). Aggregating Sets of Judgments: An Impossibility Result. Economics and Philosophy 18 (1):89-110.
    Suppose that the members of a group each hold a rational set of judgments on some interconnected questions, and imagine that the group itself has to form a collective, rational set of judgments on those questions. How should it go about dealing with this task? We argue that the question raised is subject to a difficulty that has recently been noticed in discussion of the doctrinal paradox in jurisprudence. And we show that there is a general impossibility theorem that that (...)
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