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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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Deference and Abstention

Deference and Abstention

(p.95) Chapter Four Deference and Abstention
The Ethics of Voting

Jason Brennan

Princeton University Press

This chapter studies and rebuts a variety of objections to the argument that hold that abstention involves a loss of autonomy for the individual. Some might see abstention as a violation of autonomy. To abstain means to cede political judgment to others and to give up one's own independent judgment. The chapter argues against this. First, deferring to others does not always involve a troubling loss of autonomy. Second, the idea that voting gives the voter significant autonomy or control is implausible anyway. So long as one has an equal right to vote, choosing not to vote can be an autonomous act, a way of expressing one's will that the best outcome be achieved.

Keywords:   abstention, autonomy, political judgment, independent judgment, deference, voting rights

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