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EPISTEMIC DEMOCRACY WITH DEFENSIBLE PREMISES1

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  03 April 2013

Franz Dietrich
Affiliation:
CNRS, France and University of East Anglia, UKpost@franzdietrich.net
Kai Spiekermann
Affiliation:
London School of Economics, UKk.spiekermann@lse.ac.uk
Corresponding

Abstract

The contemporary theory of epistemic democracy often draws on the Condorcet Jury Theorem to formally justify the ‘wisdom of crowds’. But this theorem is inapplicable in its current form, since one of its premises – voter independence – is notoriously violated. This premise carries responsibility for the theorem's misleading conclusion that ‘large crowds are infallible’. We prove a more useful jury theorem: under defensible premises, ‘large crowds are fallible but better than small groups’. This theorem rehabilitates the importance of deliberation and education, which appear inessential in the classical jury framework. Our theorem is related to Ladha's (1993) seminal jury theorem for interchangeable (‘indistinguishable’) voters based on de Finetti's Theorem. We also prove a more general and simpler such jury theorem.

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Articles
Copyright
Copyright © Cambridge University Press 2013

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Footnotes

1

Kai Spiekermann would like to emphasize that the formal results in this paper are the work of Franz Dietrich.

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