Social Choice Theory and the problem of collective rationality

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Collective Intelligence is a buzz-word, and it seems that many people are interested in this area. I think that collective intelligence is closely linked with collective rationality. Excellent theoretical foundations for the question of collective rationality are provided by SOCIAL CHOICE THEORY.

Roughly speaking, social choice theory aims to explore the possibility of aggregating rational individual preferences (or judgements) to collectively rational preferences (or judgements). The arguments consist of rigorous mathematical/logical proofs. Social choice theory shows that aggregation is often impossible, given some (seemingly) weak requirements for the aggregation function. This gives rise to deep questions about the possibility of democracy, the decision procedures in committees/juries, or the issue of group agency.

I could give a short and non-formal introduction and point you to more advanced papers and proofs. I should say that I'm not doing research in social choice myself, but my supervisor does and I think I could convey at least the basics.

Given that we are all pretty busy, I was thinking about week 3, but if people want to do it earlier, let me know. Kai --Spiekermann 21:30, 7 June 2007 (MDT)

I'm interested

Will B.



Paul D.