[talk] Michael Paul Morreau: Democracy without Enlightenment

Friday, September 2, 2022 - 17:00

Democracy without Enlightenment

Michael Paul Morreau (The Arctic University of Norway)

 Friday 2 SEPT, 5 PM, Department of Philosophy, Bogazici University (Room JF 507, JF building, 4th floor)

 Abstract: This talk proposes a novel solution to problems of voter ignorance in democracies. The idea is to set democratic institutions up with voting methods in which voters evaluate options --- whether candidates, policies or whatever else --- by grading them from best to worst. I present a jury theorem for one evaluative voting method, median grading, in which the option with the highest median grade wins. Then I show that this voting method can enable assemblies reliably to choose the better of two options even when individual voter competence is so low that, as Condorcet warned long ago, majorities are most likely to settle on the worse option. We see that median grading can enable unenlightened assemblies to “track the truth” --- even with people so ignorant and prejudiced that majorities can be counted on to run themselves off the rails.


All welcome!