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Democratic ReasonPolitics, Collective Intelligence, and the Rule of the Many$
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Hélène Landemore

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780691155654

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: October 2017

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691155654.001.0001

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Second Mechanism of Democratic Reason: Majority Rule

Second Mechanism of Democratic Reason: Majority Rule

(p.145) Chapter Six Second Mechanism of Democratic Reason: Majority Rule
Democratic Reason

Hélène Landemore

Princeton University Press

This chapter argues that majority rule is a useful complement of inclusive deliberation, not just because majority rule is more efficient timewise, but because it has distinct epistemic properties of its own. It also stresses that majority rule is best designed for collective prediction—that is, the identification of the best options out of those selected during the deliberative phase. Of all the competing alternatives (rule of one or rule of the few), majority rule maximizes the chances of predicting the right answer among the proposed options. The chapter considers several accounts of the epistemic properties of majority rule, including the Condorcet Jury Theorem, the Miracle of Aggregation, and a more fine-grained model based on cognitive diversity.

Keywords:   majority rule, collective prediction, Condorcet Jury Theorem, Miracle of Aggregation, cognitive diversity

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