Testing epistemic democracy’s claims for majority rule

Politics, Philosophy and Economics 19 (1):22-35 (2019)
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Abstract

While epistemic democrats have claimed that majority rule recruits the wisdom of the crowd to identify correct answers to political problems, the conjecture remains abstract. This article illustrates how majority rule leverages the epistemic capacity of the electorate to practically enhance the instrumental value of elections. To do so, we identify a set of sufficient conditions that effect such a majority rule mechanism, even when the decision in question is multidimensional. We then look to the case of sociotropic economic voting in US presidential elections to provide empirical tractability for these conditions. We find that absent such an epistemic capacity a number of presidential elections might well have been decided differently. By generating clear conditions for the plausibility of claims made by epistemic democrats, and demonstrating their correspondence to empirical data, this article strengthens the broader instrumental grounds recommending democracy.

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Author's Profile

William Berger
Paul Smith's College

Citations of this work

The metaethical dilemma of epistemic democracy.Christoph Schamberger - 2023 - Economics and Philosophy 39 (1):1-19.

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References found in this work

Knowledge in a social world.Alvin I. Goldman - 1991 - New York: Oxford University Press.
The epistemology of democracy.Elizabeth Anderson - 2006 - Episteme 3 (1-2):8-22.
Epistemic democracy: Generalizing the Condorcet jury theorem.Christian List & Robert E. Goodin - 2001 - Journal of Political Philosophy 9 (3):277–306.
Against Ideal Guidance.David Wiens - 2015 - Journal of Politics 77 (2):433-446.

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