Saturday, February 14, 2009

Ants and Democracy

This term I've been attending a seminar on Aristotle's Politics and Contemporary Political Theory, which has reminded me of his claim that humans are political in a way different from merely gregarious animals such as bees (the difference seems to lie in our capacity for speech/reason and so justice).

Nonetheless, it seems that perhaps we can learn from animals after all. A good article in The Economist here, drawing on the work of Christian List - although I think it gets Condorcet slightly wrong (the jury theorem does not depend on each supplying different perspectives, although that idea does go back to at least Aristotle, and in fact it depends on voters being independent, rather than exchanging information).

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