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The case for modelled democracy

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If you have a question about this talk, please contact Agnes Bolinska.

The fact that most of us are ignorant on politically relevant matters presents a problem for democracy. In light of this, some have suggested that we impose epistemic constraints on democratic participation, and specifically that the franchise be restricted along competency lines – a suggestion that in turn runs the risk of violating a long-standing condition on political legitimacy to the effect that legitimate political arrangements cannot be open to reasonable objections. In this talk, I outline a way to solve the problem of public ignorance without restricting the franchise. The proposal involves filtering the electoral input of a universal franchise through a statistical model that simulates what the public’s political preferences would be, were it informed on politically relevant matters. The result is modelled democracy. I make the case that such democracy both solves the problem of public ignorance and satisfies the aforementioned condition on legitimacy.

This talk is part of the Departmental Seminars in History and Philosophy of Science series.

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