Monday, October 16, 2006

Workshop Abstract

This Wednesday, I'll be presenting a plan of chapter 6 of my thesis - the one I intended to write over the summer - in Jerry Cohen's graduate workshop in All Souls. Here's the abstract:

The Rationality of Random Decision-Making
My thesis argues for a partly random decision mechanism called lottery-voting, in which elections are determined by a randomly-selected vote. The present chapter examines the rationality of this procedure, focusing on maximising and consistency as desiderata of rationality. I argue we do not need to maximise anything, so long as we do not select clearly worse (i.e. dominated) alternatives. I also argue the need for consistency has been exaggerated by those who claim we need a complete, transitive ordering of options. Instead, I argue we simply need some fair way of resolving disagreement, like tossing a coin. While no decision procedure is inherently rational or irrational, what it is rational to adopt in a given circumstance depends on what we want from the procedure. I argue (in conjunction with previous chapters of my thesis)that it may be rational to adopt lottery-voting to make collective decisions.

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