Group Communication and the Transformation of Judgments: An Impossibility Result

Journal of Political Philosophy 19 (1):1-27 (2011)
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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 democats 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.
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Two Dogmas of Empiricism.Quine, Willard V. O.
On the Logic of Theory Change: Partial Meet Contraction and Revision Functions.Alchourrón, Carlos E.; Gärdenfors, Peter & Makinson, David

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Aggregating Causal Judgments.Richards, Bradley; Dietrich, Franz & List, Christian
On the Elusive Notion of Meta-Agreement.Ottonelli, Valeria & Porello, Daniele

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