Social Choice and Welfare

, Volume 28, Issue 4, pp 649–666

The limits of epistemic democracy

Original Paper

DOI: 10.1007/s00355-006-0185-0

Cite this article as:
van Hees, M. Soc Choice Welfare (2007) 28: 649. doi:10.1007/s00355-006-0185-0


The so-called doctrinal paradox reveals that a jury that decides by majority on the truth of a set of propositions, may come to a conclusion that is at odds with a legal doctrine to which they all subscribe. The doctrinal paradox, and its subsequent generalization by List and Pettit (Econ Philos 18:89–110, 2002), reveal the logical difficulties of epistemic democracy. This paper presents several generalizations of the paradox that are formulated with the use of many-valued logic. The results show that allowing the individual or the collective judgements to be formulated in terms of degrees of beliefs does not ensure the possibility of collective epistemic decision making.

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PhilosophyUniversity of GroningenGroningenThe Netherlands

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