Modeling for fairness: A Rawlsian approach

Sjoerd D. Zwart
Delft University of Technology
In this paper we introduce the overlapping design consensus for the construction of models in design and the related value judgments. The overlapping design consensus is inspired by Rawls’ overlapping consensus. The overlapping design consensus is a well-informed, mutual agreement among all stakeholders based on fairness. Fairness is respected if all stakeholders’ interests are given due and equal attention. For reaching such fair agreement, we apply Rawls’ original position and reflective equilibrium to modeling. We argue that by striving for the original position, stakeholders expel invalid arguments, hierarchies, unwarranted beliefs, and bargaining effects from influencing the consensus. The reflective equilibrium requires that stakeholders’ beliefs cohere with the final agreement and its justification. Therefore, the overlapping design consensus is not only an agreement to decisions, as most other stakeholder approaches, it is also an agreement to their justification and that this justification is consistent with each stakeholders’ beliefs. For supporting fairness, we argue that fairness qualifies as a maxim in modeling. We furthermore distinguish values embedded in a model from values that are implied by its context of application. Finally, we conclude that for reaching an overlapping design consensus communication about properties of and values related to a model is required.
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DOI 10.1016/j.shpsa.2013.11.001
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References found in this work BETA

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