This book examines the Condorcet Jury Theorem and how its assumptions can be applicable to the real world. It will use the theorem to assess various familiar political practices and alternative institutional arrangements, revealing how best to take advantage of the truth-tracking potential of majoritarian democracy.
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 (...) Condorcet's paradox) are in large electorates. (shrink)
Revisioning macro-democratic processes in light of the processes and promise of micro-deliberation, Innovating Democracy provides an integrated perspective on democratic theory and practice after the deliberative turn.
Utilitarianism, the great reforming philosophy of the nineteenth century, has today acquired the reputation for being a crassly calculating, impersonal philosophy unfit to serve as a guide to moral conduct. Yet what may disqualify utilitarianism as a personal philosophy makes it an eminently suitable guide for public officials in the pursuit of their professional responsibilities. Robert E. Goodin, a philosopher with many books on political theory, public policy and applied ethics to his credit, defends utilitarianism against its critics and shows (...) how it can be applied most effectively over a wide range of public policies. In discussions of such issues as paternalism, social welfare policy, international ethics, nuclear armaments, and international responses to the environment crisis, he demonstrates what a flexible tool his brand of utilitarianism can be in confronting the dilemmas of public policy in the real world. (shrink)
Bracket out the wrong of committing a wrong, or conspiring or colluding or conniving with others in their committing one. Suppose you have done none of those things, and you find yourself merely benefiting from a wrong committed wholly by someone else. What, if anything, is wrong with that? What, if any, duties follow from it? If straightforward restitution were possible — if you could just ‘give back’ what you received as a result of the wrongdoing to its rightful owner (...) — then matters are morally more straightforward. But in real-world cases that is often impossible, and questions of ‘how much, from whom and to whom?’ become far more vexing. The beneficiary disgorging all benefits of the wrong is part of the story, but where that is not possible or will not suffice to compensate the victim of wrongdoing we discuss various ways of allocating the cost of making the victim whole, including supplementation from public coffers. (shrink)
Democracy used to be seen as a relatively mechanical matter of merely adding up everyone's votes in free and fair elections. That mechanistic model has many virtues, among them allowing democracy to 'track the truth', where purely factual issues are all that is at stake. Political disputes invariably mix facts with values, however, and then it is essential to listen to what people are saying rather than merely note how they are voting. The great challenge is how to implement that (...) deliberative ideal among millions of people at once. In this strikingly original book, Goodin offers a solution: 'democratic deliberation within'. Building on models of ordinary conversational dynamics, he suggests that people simply imagine themselves in the position of various other people they have heard or read about and ask, 'What would they say about this proposal?' Informing the democratic imaginary then becomes the key to making deliberations more reflective - more empathetic, more considered, more expansive across time and distance. (shrink)
Norms are a pervasive yet mysterious feature of social life. In Explaining Norms, four philosophers and social scientists team up to grapple with some of the many mysteries, offering a comprehensive account of norms: what they are; how and why they emerge, persist and change; and how they work.
In this strikingly original book, one of the leading scholars in the field focuses on the influential idea of deliberative democracy. Goodin examines the great challenge of how to implement the deliberative ideal among millions of people at once and comes up with a novel solution: 'democratic deliberation within'.
Philosophers who complain about the ‹demandingness’ of morality forget that a morality can make too few demands as well as too many. What we ought be seeking is an appropriately demanding morality. This article recommends a ‹moral satisficing’ approach to determining when a morality is ‹demanding enough’, and an institutionalized solution to keeping the demands within acceptable limits.
Democratic theorists often place deliberative innovations such as citizen's panels, consensus conferences, planning cells, and deliberative polls at the center of their hopes for deliberative democratization. In light of experience to date, the authors chart the ways in which such mini-publics may have an impact in the “macro” world of politics. Impact may come in the form of actually making policy, being taken up in the policy process, informing public debates, market-testing of proposals, legitimation of public policies, building confidence and (...) constituencies for policies, popular oversight, and resisting co-option. Exposing problems and failures is all too easy. The authors highlight cases of success on each of these dimensions. (shrink)
With their remarkable electoral successes, Green parties worldwide seized the political imagination of friends and foes alike. Mainstream politicians busily disparage them and imitate them in turn. This new book shows that 'greens' deserve to be taken more seriously than that. This is the first full-length philosophical discussion of the green political programme. Goodin shows that green public policy proposals are unified by a single, coherent moral vision - a 'green theory of value' - that is largely independent of the (...) `green theory of agency' dictating green political mechanisms, strategies and tactics on the one hand, and personal lifestyle recommendations on the other. The upshot is that we demand that politicians implement green public policies, and implement them completely, without committing ourselves to the other often more eccentric aspects of green doctrine that threaten to alienate so many potential supporters. (shrink)
An interesting fact about customary international law is that the only way you can propose an amendment to it is by breaking it. How can that be differentiated from plain law-breaking? What moral standards might apply to that sort of international conduct? I propose we use ones analogous to the ordinary standards for distinguishing civil disobedients from ordinary law-breakers: would-be law-makers, like civil disobedients, must break the law openly; they must accept the legal consequences of doing so; and they must (...) be prepared to have the same rules applied to them as everyone else. (shrink)
Introduction -- Modes of settling: settling down, settling in, settling up, settling for, settling one's affairs, settling on -- The value of settling: settling as an aid to planning and agency, settling, commitment, trust, and confidence, settling the social fabric -- What settling is not: settling is not just compromising, settling is not just conservatism, settling is not just resignation -- Settling in aid of striving: settling in order to strive, what strivings require settling, and why, when to switch between (...) one and the other, and why -- Conclusions. (shrink)
The democratic egalitarian ideal requires that everyone should enjoy equal power over the world through voting. If it is improper to vote twice in the same election, why should it be permissible for dual citizens to vote in two different places? Several possible excuses are considered and rejected.
Some believe that the mere beneficiaries of wrongdoing of others ought to disgorge their tainted benefits. Others deny that claim. Both sides of this debate concentrate on unavoidable beneficiaries of the wrongdoing of others, who are presumed themselves to be innocent by virtue of the fact they have neither contributed to the wrong nor could they have avoided receiving the benefit. But as we show, this presumption is mistaken for unavoidable beneficiaries who intend in certain ways to benefit from wrongdoing, (...) and who have therefore done something wrong in forming and acting on such an intention. (shrink)
Proposals to lower the age of voting, to 15 for example, are regularly met with worries that people that age are not sufficiently ‘competent’. Notice however that we allow people that age to sign binding legal contracts, provided that those contracts are co-signed by their parents. Notice, further, that in a democracy voters are collectively ‘joint authors’ of the laws that they enact. Enfranchising some less competent voters is no worry, the Condorcet Jury Theorem assures us, so long as the (...) electorate's competence averaging across all voters remains better-than-random. (shrink)
Solidarity is supposed to facilitate collective action. We argue that it can also help overcome false consciousness. Groups practice if they pool information about what is in their true interest and how to vote accordingly. The more numerous can in this way overcome the but only if they are minimally confident with whom they share the same interests and only if they are better-than-random in voting for the alternative that promotes their interests. Being more cohesive and more competent than the (...) Masses, the Elites can employ the same strategy perhaps all the more effectively. But so long as the Masses practice epistemic solidarity they will almost always win, whether or not the Elites do. By enriching the traditional framework of the Condorcet Jury Theorem with group-specific standards of correctness, we investigate how groups can organize to support the alternatives truly in their interests. (shrink)
Complaints are common about the arbitrary and conservative bias of special-majority rules. Such complaints, however, apply to asymmetrical versions of those rules alone. Symmetrical special-majority rules remedy that defect, albeit at the cost of often rendering no determinate verdict. Here what is formally at stake, both procedurally and epistemically, is explored in the choice between those two forms of special-majority rule and simple-majority rule; and practical ways are suggested of resolving matters left open by symmetrical special-majority rules – such as (...) ‘judicial extrapolation’ or ‘subsidiarity’ in a federal system. (shrink)
In common-sense morality, certain special obligations loom large. These are duties which are laid upon agents, be they individuals or groups, in virtue of their distinctive identities, relationships or histories: because of who they are, how they are linked to others or what they have done in the past. The particularistic basis of these obligations means that no one but the agent in question is engaged by such a duty. It is that agent's alone.These special obligations include duties towards oneself, (...) towards one's dependants and towards those to whom one has made certain commitments. In each case they prescribe partisan treatment. The beneficiary is to enjoy a benefit which may not be especially important in the global scheme of things, and which may even be obtained at the cost of others’ being deprived of benefits that are equally or more important in some cosmic sense. (shrink)
By analogy to Macpherson 's "protective" and "self-developmental" models of liberal democracy, there might be two distinct models of liberal multiculturalism. On the protective-style model, the aim is to protect minority cultures against assimilationist and homogenizing intrusions of the majority. On the other model, here dubbed "polyglot multiculturalism," the majority might expand its own "context for choice" by having more minority cultures from whom to borrow. The latter is a more welcoming and inclusive strategy, still recognizably liberal in form, than (...) the self-defensive liberalism of the more purely protectionist sort. (shrink)
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 (...) from each voter, then plurality rule is the uniquely compelling electoral procedure. To illustrate the conditional nature of this claim, we also identify a richer informational environment in which approval voting, not plurality rule, is supported by a May-style argument. (shrink)
Individuals are often causally inconsequential parts of highly consequential wholes. If each individual is causally inconsequential, and what she does makes no causal difference, we may be inclined to absolve each of causal responsibility for the consequences of what occurs as a result of the larger whole of which each is a part. But there is another form of responsibility – constitutive responsibility. Whatever the causal consequences may be, each individual constitutes part of that whole and each therefore bears responsibility (...) of at least that sort for the whole. (shrink)
This paper firstly distinguishes between principles of “global justice” that apply the same anywhere and everywhere – Tännsjö’s utilitarianism, egalitarianism, prioritarianism and such like – and principles of “local justice” that apply within the specific sphere of health-care. Sometimes the latter might just be a special case of the former – but not always. Secondly, it discusses reasons, many psychological in nature, why physicians might devote excessive resources to prolonging life pointlessly, showing once again that those reasons might themselves be (...) morally significant. (shrink)
The Oxford Handbooks of Political Science is a ten-volume set of reference books offering authoritative and engaging critical overviews of the state of political science. This volume, The Oxford Handbook of Contextual Political Analysis, sets out to synthesize and critique for the first time those approaches to political science that offer a more fine-grained qualitative analysis of the political world. The work in the volume has a common aim in being sensitive to the thoughts of contextual nuances that disappear from (...) large-scale quantitative modelling or explanations based on abstract, general, universal laws of human behavior. It shows that "context matters" in a great many ways: philosophical context matters; psychological context matters; cultural and historical contexts matter; place, population, and technology all matter. By showcasing scholars who specialize in the analysis of all these contexts side-by-side, the Oxford Handbook of Contextual Political Analysis shows how political scientists can take those crucial contextual factors systematically into account. (shrink)
Global Basic Rights brings together many of the most influential contemporary writers in political philosophy and international relations to explore some of the most challenging theoretical and practical questions provoked by Henry Shue's classic book Basic Rights.
'Justice' and 'democracy' have alternated as dominant themes in political philosophy over the last fifty years. Since its revival in the middle of the twentieth century, political philosophy has focused on first one and then the other of these two themes. Rarely, however, has it succeeded in holding them in joint focus. This volume brings together leading authors who consider the relationship between democracy and justice in a set of specially written chapters. The intrinsic justness of democracy is challenged, the (...) relationship between justice, democracy and impartiality queried and the relationship between justice, democracy and the common good examined. Further chapters explore the problem of social exclusion and issues surrounding sub-national groups in the context of democracy and justice. Authors include Keith Dowding, Richard Arneson, Norman Schofield, Albert Weale, Robert E. Goodin, Jon Elster, David Miller, Phillip Pettit, Julian LeGrand and Russell Hardin. (shrink)
If free markets consist in nothing more than “capitalist acts between consenting adults,” and if in the old legal maxim “volenti non fit injuria,” then it seems to follow that free markets do no wrongs. But that defense of free markets wrenches the “volenti” maxim out of context. In common law adjudication of disputes between two parties, it is perfectly appropriate to cast standards of “volenti” narrowly, and largely ignore “duress via third parties” (wrongs done to or by others who (...) are not themselves party to the action). In economic markets, of course, those third-party effects are rife. But we want them to be rectified systematically, not piecemeal through particular cases between particular parties that happen to come to court. That is the proper province of political philosophers and system-designers, in critiquing and constraining the operation of the market. (shrink)
This new edition of A Companion to Contemporary Political Philosophy has been extended significantly to include 55 chapters across two volumes written by some of today's most distinguished scholars. New contributors include some of today’s most distinguished scholars, among them Thomas Pogge, Charles Beitz, and Michael Doyle Provides in-depth coverage of contemporary philosophical debate in all major related disciplines, such as economics, history, law, political science, international relations and sociology Presents analysis of key political ideologies, including new chapters on Cosmopolitanism (...) and Fundamentalism Includes detailed discussions of major concepts in political philosophy, including virtue, power, human rights, and just war. (shrink)
Originally published in 1989 Liberal Neutrality approaches the recommendation of neutrality by confronting the abstract prescription (that we should be neutral) with the implications for particular people and institutions. This not only identifies what neutrality involves logically, but also exposes the practical difficulties that may be encountered in pursuing it. In some cases, such close examination shows that neutrality is not desirable, and in others that it is attainable only within certain limits. Although neutrality has become a fashionable term in (...) political theory, this is the only volume to subject the idea to systematic scrutiny. It will be useful not only to specialists in diverse disciplines - political scientists, philosophers, sociologists, lawyers and educationalists. (shrink)
It seems to me that we should aim at something very much like this today: protected spaces of many different sorts matched to the needs of the different tribes. Michael Walzer (1994)They [animals] are not brethren, they are not underlings, they are other Nations, caught with ourselves in the net of life and time, fellow prisoners of the splendour and travail of the earth. Henry Beston (1928).
Issues concerning technological risk have increasingly become the subject of deliberative exercises involving participation of ordinary citizens. The most popular topic for deliberation has been genetically modified foods. Despite the varied circumstances of their establishment, deliberative “minipublics” almost always produce recommendations that reflect a worldview more “precautionary” than the “Promethean” outlook more common among governing elites. There are good structural reasons for this difference. Its existence raises the question of why elites sponsor mini-publics and if policy is little affected by (...) the results of deliberations, questions the possibility of deliberative legitimation of public policy. We make this argument by looking at mini-publics on GM foods in France, the United States, Canada, United Kingdom, Australia, and Switzerland. Deliberative legitimation becomes plausible if elites can attenuate their Promethean outlook. This is possible if ecological modernization discourse pervades their politics; Denmark provides an illustration. (shrink)