The social welfare functional approach to social choice theory fails to distinguish a genuine change in individual well-beings from a merely representational change due to the use of different measurement scales. A generalization of the concept of a social welfare functional is introduced that explicitly takes account of the scales that are used to measure well-beings so as to distinguish between these two kinds of changes. This generalization of the standard theoretical framework results in a more satisfactory formulation of welfarism, (...) the doctrine that social alternatives are evaluated and socially ranked solely in terms of the well-beings of the relevant individuals. This scale-dependent form of welfarism is axiomatized using this framework. The implications of this approach for characterizing classes of social welfare orderings are also considered. (shrink)
In Democratic Reason, Hne Landemore has built a case for the epistemic virtues of inclusive deliberative democracy based on the cognitive diversity of the group engaged in making collective decisions. She supports her thesis by appealing to the Diversity Trumps Ability Theorem of Lu Hong and Scott Page. This theorem is quite technical and the informal statements of it aimed at democratic theorists are inaccurate, which has resulted in some misguided critiques of the theorem's applicability to democratic politics. This paper (...) provides an exposition of the Diversity Trumps Ability Theorem that does not sacrifice precision for accessibility. It also shows that it is not possible to satisfy the assumptions of this theorem when there are only two options. Thus, the Diversity Trumps Ability Theorem cannot provide support for the epistemic virtues of inclusive democratic deliberation for binary collective decisions. (shrink)
Extensive social choice theory is used to study the problem of measuring group fitness in a two-level biological hierarchy. Both fixed and variable group size are considered. Axioms are identified that imply that the group measure satisfies a form of consequentialism in which group fitness only depends on the viabilities and fecundities of the individuals at the lower level in the hierarchy. This kind of consequentialism can take account of the group fitness advantages of germ-soma specialization, which is not possible (...) with an alternative social choice framework proposed by Okasha, but which is an essential feature of the index of group fitness for a multicellular organism introduced by Michod, Viossat, Solari, Hurand, and Nedelcu to analyze the unicellular-multicellular evolutionary transition. The new framework is also used to analyze the fitness decoupling between levels that takes place during an evolutionary transition. (shrink)
The utilitarian economist and Nobel Laureate John Harsanyi and the liberal egalitarian philosopher John Rawls were two of the most eminent scholars writing on problems of social justice in the last century. This volume pays tribute to Harsanyi and Rawls by investigating themes that figure prominently in their work. In some cases, the contributors explore issues considered by Harsanyi and Rawls in more depth and from novel perspectives. In others, the contributors use the work of Harsanyi and Rawls as points (...) of departure for pursuing the construction of theories for the evaluation of social justice. The introductory essay by the editors provides background information on the relevant economics, game theory, philosophy, and social choice theory, as well as readers' guides to the individual contributions, to make this volume widely accessible to scholars in a wide range of disciplines. (shrink)
A necessary and sufficient condition for linear aggregation of SSB utility functionals is presented. Harsanyi's social aggregation theorem for von NeumannâMorgenstern utility functions is shown to be a corollary to this result. Two generalizations of Fishburn and Gehrlein's conditional linear aggregation theorem for SSB utility functionals are also established.
This symposium contains a selection of the papers that were presented at a conference we organized on Rational Choice and Philosophy that was held at Vanderbilt University on 16 and 17 May 2014. The aim of the conference was to provide an inter-disciplinary forum for philosophical work that uses ideas and tools from rational choice theory, understood broadly to include decision theory, game theory and social choice theory.
This article illustrates how axiomatic social choice theory can be used in the evaluation of measures of group fitness for a biological hierarchy, thereby contributing to the dialogue between the philosophy of biology and social choice theory. It provides an axiomatic characterization of the ordering underlying the MichodSolariNedelcu index of group fitness for a multicellular organism. The MVSHN index has been used to analyse the germ-soma specialization and the fitness decoupling between the cell and organism levels that takes place during (...) the evolutionary transition to multicellularity. It is argued that some of the axioms satisfied by the MVSHN group fitness ordering are not appropriate for all stages in this transition. (shrink)
Arrow's Theorem, in its social choice function formulation, assumes that all nonempty finite subsets of the universal set of alternatives is potentially a feasible set. We demonstrate that the axioms in Arrow's Theorem, with weak Pareto strengthened to strong Pareto, are consistent if it is assumed that there is a prespecified alternative which is in every feasible set. We further show that if the collection of feasible sets consists of all subsets of alternatives containing a prespecified list of alternatives and (...) if there are at least three additional alternatives not on this list, replacing nondictatorship by anonymity results in an impossibility theorem. (shrink)