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DYCODE – Valeria Ottonelli: "The ethics of voting: a pluralistic account"

February 06, 2019, 18-20 st
S 6 (GW II)

A central question of the ethics of democratic voting is along which dimension we should vote, that is, what sort of considerations should guide us in casting our vote. When we choose between different political options, should we vote for the one that best promotes the common good? Or should we select instead the one that promotes our interest? Or should we aim for political stability? Whatever the answer is to these questions, it seems natural to believe that an ethics of voting should be monistic: it should recommend voting along just one of such dimensions.

However, monistic theories of the ethics of voting are completely detached from the actual practice of democratic voting and do not account for the complexity of considerations that pertain to political rule. Against monistic approaches, I argue that an adequate ethics of voting should be pluralistic, by comprising a plurality of dimensions that are irreducible to one single principle or algorithm, and by allowing electors to vote along different dimensions depending on their social and political circumstances. This pluralistic account can be defended against the objection that if people do not coordinate on one single dimension of voting, the outcomes of majoritarian procedures may be unfair and inefficient.

This talk is part of the DYCODE lecture series.

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