Collective Wisdom: Principles and Mechanisms

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9781107630277: Collective Wisdom: Principles and Mechanisms

James Madison wrote, "Had every Athenian citizen been a Socrates, every Athenian assembly would still have been a mob." The contributors to this volume discuss and for the most part challenge this claim by considering conditions under which many minds can be wiser than one. With backgrounds in economics, cognitive science, political science, law, and history, the authors consider information markets, the Internet, jury debates, democratic deliberation, and the use of diversity as mechanisms for improving collective decisions. At the same time, they consider voter irrationality and paradoxes of aggregation as possibly undermining the wisdom of groups. Implicitly or explicitly, the volume also offers guidance and warnings to institutional designers.

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Book Description:

James Madison wrote, "Had every Athenian citizen been a Socrates, every Athenian assembly would still have been a mob." The contributors to this volume discuss and for the most part challenge this claim by asking whether many minds can be wiser than one. The authors draw on historical examples from classical Athens to the French Revolution, and on recent theoretical development in the social sciences. This volume is unique in its interdisciplinary character and the depth of its scholarship.

About the Author:

Hélène Landemore is a graduate from the Ecole Normale Supérieure in Paris, Sciences Po-Paris, and Harvard University (PhD, 2008). She is currently an associate professor of Political Science at Yale University. She is the author of Hume: probabilité et choix raisonnable (2004) and Democratic Reason: Politics, Collective Intelligence, and the Rule of the Many (2013, David and Elaine Spitz Prize 2015). Her work has appeared among others in Journal of Moral Philosophy, Journal of Political Philosophy, Political Theory, Raison Publique, Journal of Public Deliberation, Synthese, Critical Review, and Political Psychology.
Jon Elster is a Norwegian born social scientistand political theorist, author of many books in the philosophy of social sciences and rational choice theory, and an important contributor to fields as diverse as political theory, political science, social science, and political psychology. He is also famous for his defense of Analytical Marxism and his critique of neoclassical economics and public choice theory, largely on behavioral and psychological grounds. He is currently Professor of Social Sciences at the University of Columbia in New York. From 2005 to 2011, he was also professeur titulaire at the Collège de France in Paris. Among his landmark books are Ulysses and the Sirens (1979), Making Sense of Marx (1985), Alchemies of the Mind (1999), Closing the Books (2004), Explaining Social Behavior (2007, 2015), and Securities Against Misrule (2013).  

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