Social choice theory and deliberative democracy : A response to Aldred

British Journal of Political Science 34 (4):752-758 (2004)
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 less impressed by the way Aldred characterizes the overall terms of the reconciliation we propose. We believe that his argument on this matter should be resisted because it provides deliberative democrats with a bad excuse to dismiss social choice theory altogether, which is surely not what he intends.
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