Bridges 2014

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Avin I. Goldman & Stephan Hartmann

Social Process Reliabilism: Solving Justification Problems in Collective Epistemology
Alvin I. Goldman (Rutgers)


Voting, Deliberation and Truth
Stephan Hartmann (MCMP/LMU)

There are various ways to reach a group decision on a yes-no question. One way is to vote and decide what the majority votes for. This procedure receives some epistemological support from the Condorcet Jury Theorem. Alternatively, the group members may prefer to deliberate and will eventually reach a decision that everybody endorses -- a consensus. While the latter procedure has the advantage that it makes everybody happy (as everybody endorses the consensus), it has the disadvantage that it is difficult to implement, especially for larger groups. What is more, a deliberation is easy to bias as those group members who make others change their mind may not necessarily be the best truth-trackers themselves. But even if no such biases are present, the consensus may be far away from the truth. And so we ask: When is deliberation a better procedure to track the truth than simple majority voting? To address this question, we propose a Bayesian model of rational non-strategic deliberation and compare it to the straightforward voting procedure.

The talk is based on joint work with Soroush Rafiee Rad (Amsterdam/MCMP).

Download the talk slides here (PDF).