The Possibility of Self-Government

American Political Science Review 94 (3):563-577 (2000)
Abstract
M z ,f any have suggested that the findings of social choice theory demonstrate that there can be no "will of the people." This has subversive implications for our intuitive concept of self-government. I explore the relation between the notion of a "social will," that of self-government, and the impossibility theorems of social choice theory. I conclude that although the concept of the social will is essential to that of self-government, the findings of social choice theory do not cast doubt upon the possibility of either. Unlike many attempts to respond to the threat posed by social choice theory, my argument does not require any appeal to the problematic notion of the common good.
Keywords democratic theory  social choice
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