Lecture by Michael Morreau on "Democracy without Enlightenment"
On Sunday, July 19 the scientific seminar of the International Centre of Decision Choice and Analysis was held. Professor Morreau gave a lecture on "Democracy without Enlightenment"
Speaker: Professor Michael Morreau (The Arctic University of Norway)
Abstract: Plato though that only government experts are fit to rule the state. On the cusp of the French revolution, Condorcet warned that when voters' individual chance of making right decisions falls below 1/2, majority voting exposes large assemblies to a great risk of making wrong decisions. Some contemporary thinkers, echoing Plato and Condorcet, say that ordinary citizens lack technical and political knowledge that is needed for good democratic government. This talk proposes to solve problems of voter ignorance by setting up democratic institutions with voting methods that, while no less democratic than majority voting, make better use than it does of the people's limited knowledge. The main result is a jury theorem for evaluative voting methods (in which the voters score or grade their options on their ballots). It is shown as a corollary that sufficiently large democratic assemblies using such methods can be very likely to make the right decisions in some cases in which, due to voter ignorance and bias, pairwise majority voting is likely to result in wrong decisions.