Arguing for majority rule

Journal of Political Philosophy 12 (1):41–64 (2004)
Abstract
ALTHOUGH majority rule finds ready acceptance whenever groups make decisions, there are surprisingly few philosophically interesting arguments in support of it.1 Jeremy Waldron’s The Dignity of Legislation contains the most interesting recent defense of majority rule. Waldron combines his own argument from respect with May’s influential characterization of majority rule, tying both to a reinterpretation of a well-known passage from Locke’s Second Treatise (“the body moves into the direction determined by the majority of forces”). Despite its impressive resourcefulness, Waldron’s defense is deficient, and one goal of this essay is to show how. Yet our main concern is not to criticize Waldron, but to demonstrate general deficiencies of arguments for majority rule and to suggest a strategy for a more adequate and more complete defense. Such arguments tend to have one of two weaknesses: Either they assume that collective decisionmaking is done in terms of ranking options and thus neglect both aggregation methods using more information than the relative standing of options in rankings (such as so-called positional methods) and rules that are not aggregation methods at all (such as fair-division procedures); or they also constitute arguments for other decision rules. In the first case, the argument is too narrow, in the second it is too broad. The narrowness problem is bigger than stated so far because arguments for majority rule tend to assume not only that decisions are made by ranking options, but also that only two options are to be ranked. Both problems arise for Waldron’s defense and leave it incomplete. Yet such incompleteness also characterizes the state of the art in arguing for majority rule. So in addition to..
Keywords No keywords specified (fix it)
Categories (categorize this paper)
Options
 Save to my reading list
Follow the author(s)
My bibliography
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Revision history Request removal from index
 
Download options
PhilPapers Archive


Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy on self-archival     Papers currently archived: 10,346
External links
Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library
References found in this work BETA

No references found.

Citations of this work BETA
Similar books and articles
Analytics

Monthly downloads

Added to index

2009-01-28

Total downloads

20 ( #81,713 of 1,096,632 )

Recent downloads (6 months)

1 ( #271,187 of 1,096,632 )

How can I increase my downloads?

My notes
Sign in to use this feature


Discussion
Start a new thread
Order:
There  are no threads in this forum
Nothing in this forum yet.