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Kai Spiekermann
London School of Economics
  1. Methodological Individualism and Holism in Political Science: A Reconciliation.Christian List & Kai Spiekermann - 2013 - American Political Science Review 107 (4):629-643.
    Political science is divided between methodological individualists, who seek to explain political phenomena by reference to individuals and their interactions, and holists (or nonreductionists), who consider some higher-level social entities or properties such as states, institutions, or cultures ontologically or causally significant. We propose a reconciliation between these two perspectives, building on related work in philosophy. After laying out a taxonomy of different variants of each view, we observe that (i) although political phenomena result from underlying individual attitudes and behavior, (...)
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  2. Independent Opinions? On the Causal Foundations of Belief Formation and Jury Theorems.Franz Dietrich & Kai Spiekermann - 2013 - Mind 122 (487):655-685.
    Democratic decision-making is often defended on grounds of the ‘wisdom of crowds’: decisions are more likely to be correct if they are based on many independent opinions, so a typical argument in social epistemology. But what does it mean to have independent opinions? Opinions can be probabilistically dependent even if individuals form their opinion in causal isolation from each other. We distinguish four probabilistic notions of opinion independence. Which of them holds depends on how individuals are causally affected by environmental (...)
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    Epistemic Democracy with Defensible Premises.Franz Dietrich & Kai Spiekermann - 2013 - Economics and Philosophy 29 (1):87--120.
    The contemporary theory of epistemic democracy often draws on the Condorcet Jury Theorem to formally justify the ‘wisdom of crowds’. But this theorem is inapplicable in its current form, since one of its premises – voter independence – is notoriously violated. This premise carries responsibility for the theorem's misleading conclusion that ‘large crowds are infallible’. We prove a more useful jury theorem: under defensible premises, ‘large crowds are fallible but better than small groups’. This theorem rehabilitates the importance of deliberation (...)
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  4. Small Impacts and Imperceptible Effects: Causing Harm with Others.Kai Spiekermann - 2014 - Midwest Studies in Philosophy 38 (1):75-90.
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    Jury Theorems.Franz Dietrich & Kai Spiekermann - 2020 - In M. Fricker (ed.), The Routledge Handbook of Social Epistemology. New York and Abingdon:
    We give a review and critique of jury theorems from a social-epistemology perspective, covering Condorcet’s (1785) classic theorem and several later refinements and departures. We assess the plausibility of the conclusions and premises featuring in jury theorems and evaluate the potential of such theorems to serve as formal arguments for the ‘wisdom of crowds’. In particular, we argue (i) that there is a fundamental tension between voters’ independence and voters’ competence, hence between the two premises of most jury theorems; (ii) (...)
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