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Group communication and the transformation of judgments: an impossibility result

List, Christian (2011) Group communication and the transformation of judgments: an impossibility result. Journal of Political Philosophy, 19 (1). pp. 1-27. ISSN 0963-8016

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While a large social-choice-theoretic literature discusses the aggregation of individual judgments into collective ones, there is much less formal work on the transformation of judgments in group communication. I develop a model of judgment transformation and prove a baseline impossibility theorem: Any judgment transformation function satisfying some initially plausible conditions is the identity function, under which no opinion change occurs. I identify escape routes from this impossibility and argue that the kind of group communication envisaged by deliberative democrats must be 'holistic': It must focus on webs of connected propositions, not on one proposition at a time, which echoes the Duhem-Quine 'holism thesis' on scientific theory testing. My approach provides a map of the logical space in which different possible group communication processes are located.

Item Type: Article
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Additional Information: © 2010 Blackwell Publishing Ltd.
Library of Congress subject classification: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > B Philosophy (General)
B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
Sets: Departments > Government
Departments > Philosophy, Logic and Scientific Method
Research centres and groups > Centre for Philosophy of Natural and Social Science (CPNSS)
Date Deposited: 05 Feb 2009 11:42

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