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The Ethics of Voting$
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Jason Brennan

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780691154442

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: October 2017

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691154442.001.0001

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Wrongful Voting

Wrongful Voting

(p.68) Chapter Three Wrongful Voting
The Ethics of Voting

Jason Brennan

Princeton University Press

This chapter argues that citizens have to meet certain epistemic standards when they vote, or otherwise they ought to abstain. It describes two kinds of bad voting: unexcused harmful voting and fortuitous voting. Unexcused harmful voting occurs when a person votes, without epistemic justification, for harmful polices or for candidates likely to enact harmful policies. This kind of voting is collectively—not individually—harmful, because individual votes have insignificant expected utility or disutility. On the other hand, fortuitous voting occurs when citizens vote for what are in fact beneficial policies or candidates likely to enact beneficial policies, but they lack sufficient justification to believe that these policies or candidates are good. In other words, fortuitous voting occurs when a person makes the right choice for the wrong reasons or for no reason at all.

Keywords:   epistemic standards, bad voting, harmful voting, fortuitous voting, harmful policies, beneficial policies, epistemic justification

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