The case for modelled democracy – Kristoffer Ahlstrom-Vij (Birkbeck, University of London)

November 19, 2020 @ 3:30 pm – 5:00 pm
Helen Curry

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.

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