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An Epistemic Theory of Democracy - Oxford Scholarship Online
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An Epistemic Theory of Democracy

Robert E. Goodin and Kai Spiekermann


One attractive feature of democracy is its ability to track the truth by information aggregation. The formal support for this claim goes back to Condorcet’s famous jury theorem. However, the theorem has often been dismissed as a mathematical curiosity because the assumptions on which the theorem is based are demanding. Such quick dismissals tend to misunderstand the original theorem. They also fail to appreciate how Condorcet’s assumptions can be weakened to obtain jury theorems that are readily applicable in the real world. The first part of the book explains the original theorem and its vari ... More

Keywords: Condorcet Jury Theorem, truth-tracking, information aggregation, voter competence, diversity, deliberation, opinion leaders, representative democracy, Brexit, Trump

Bibliographic Information

Print publication date: 2018 Print ISBN-13: 9780198823452
Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: June 2018 DOI:10.1093/oso/9780198823452.001.0001


Affiliations are at time of print publication.

Robert E. Goodin, author
Distinguished Professor of Philosophy, Australian National University

Kai Spiekermann, author
Associate Professor of Political Philosophy, London School of Economics