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Seminars in Moral Philosophy Week 7 TT08

Event Name Seminars in Moral Philosophy Week 7 TT08
Start Date 2nd Jun 2008 4:30pm
End Date 2nd Jun 2008 6:30pm
Duration 2 hours
Description

Ben Saunders (Oxford): ‘Fairness, Democracy, and Lotteries’ to be held in the Lecture Room, 10 Merton Street, Oxford - Seminars in Moral Philosophy webpage

Abstract

This paper challenges the common assumption that democracy requires majority rule. I assume that we can adopt a contractualist approach to uncover the demands of political equality and argue that contractors would not necessarily accept majority rule to make decisions in their society. I first reject broadly consequentialist arguments, arguing that firstly no procedure guarantees ideally best outcomes, secondly that in cases of pluralism there is no need to suppose there is a uniquely best outcome, and thirdly that we need to be fair between different individuals. I develop this need for fairness into a case for weighted lotteries, drawing on the Taurek-Scanlon 'saving the greater number' debate. This leads to my conclusion that democratic ideals can be realized by selecting a random vote to determine the outcomes of decisions.

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