In Defense of Voting Method Publicity (forthcoming in Critical Review of International Social & Political Philosophy)
Abstract: The ideal of publicity plays an important role in contemporary legal and political philosophy. Yet, to date, it has not been brought to bear on the question of voting method choice. This paper aims to fix this. I argue that voting method publicity is a well-motivated requirement which reveals tradeoffs inherent to democracy between procedural and epistemic equality. I further explore the implications of voting method publicity to the normative status of plurality voting and its possible alternatives.
Polycentric Limited Epistocracy: Political Expertise and the Wiki-Model (Episteme)
Abstract: Democracy has recently been criticized by several philosophers on grounds of poor epistemic performance. The proposed alternative – epistocracy – faces criticism for failing to uphold and express the core democratic values of civic equality and individual autonomy. In response, proposals have been offered that try to achieve epistocratic performance while retaining democratic inclusion. This paper raises two problems for such proposals, relating to the selection of experts and the incentive-compatibility of the system. Given these failures, I sketch what I call the Wiki-Model. I argue that the Wiki-Model (i) has desirable epistemic properties; (ii) realizes our democratic ideals; while also (iii) avoiding the two problems that other hybrid models face.
Experiments In Living: Moral versus Epistemic Polycentricity (Social Theory and Practice)
Abstract: A number of liberal and libertarian philosophers make the moral case for laissez-faire polycentricity—a political order centered around voluntary association. Some of these philosophers further present epistemic arguments in favor of polycentric forms of organization. Initially, one might think that the epistemic arguments reinforce the moral ones, resulting in a philosophically robust case for laissez-faire polycentricity. This paper argues against this conclusion. Through examining the intersection between epistemic considerations and institutional arrangements, I show that the epistemic arguments point away from laissez-faire polycentricity and toward alternative forms of polycentric order.
Transformative Experimentation, Perspectival Diversity, and the Polycentric Liberal Order (Res Publica)
Abstract: Proponents of political experiments in living, such as Elizabeth Anderson and Ryan Muldoon, often emphasize their potential to generate useful observational data about the relation between social rules and ethically desirable outcomes. This paper highlights another epistemic dimension of political experiments: their potential to transform the cognitive perspectives of participants. I argue that this transformative dimension of experimentation offers an endogenous societal mechanism for increasing perspectival diversity. I explore the implications of this mechanism for institutional design.