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  • 1.
    Berndt Rasmussen, Katharina
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Humanities, Department of Philosophy.
    Democracy and the Common Good: A Study of the Weighted Majority Rule2013Doctoral thesis, monograph (Other academic)
    Abstract [en]

    In this study I analyse the performance of a democratic decision-making rule: the weighted majority rule. It assigns to each voter a number of votes that is proportional to her stakes in the decision. It has been shown that, for collective decisions with two options, the weighted majority rule in combination with self-interested voters maximises the common good when the latter is understood in terms of either the sum-total or prioritarian sum of the voters’ well-being.

    The main result of my study is that this argument for the weighted majority rule — that it maximises the common good — can be improved along the following three main lines. (1) The argument can be adapted to other criteria of the common good, such as sufficientarian, maximin, leximin or non-welfarist criteria. I propose a generic argument for the collective optimality of the weighted majority rule that works for all of these criteria. (2) The assumption of self-interested voters can be relaxed. First, common-interest voters can be accommodated. Second, even if voters are less than fully competent in judging their self-interest or the common interest, the weighted majority rule is weakly collectively optimal, that is, it almost certainly maximises the common good given a large numbers of voters. Third, even for smaller groups of voters, the weighted majority rule still has some attractive features. (3) The scope of the argument can be extended to decisions with more than two options. I state the conditions under which the weighted majority rule maximises the common good even in multi-option contexts. I also analyse the possibility and the detrimental effects of strategic voting. Furthermore, I argue that self-interested voters have reason to accept the weighted majority rule.

  • 2.
    Berndt Rasmussen, Katharina
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Humanities, Department of Philosophy.
    Recension: G. A. Cohen "Rescuing Justice and Equality"2011In: Tidskrift för politisk filosofi, ISSN 1402-2710, Vol. 15, no 2, p. 40-55Article, book review (Other academic)
  • 3.
    Berndt Rasmussen, Katharina
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Humanities, Department of Philosophy.
    Should the probabilities count?2012In: Philosophical Studies, ISSN 0031-8116, E-ISSN 1573-0883, Vol. 159, no 2, p. 205-218Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    When facing a choice between saving one person and saving many, some people have argued that fairness requires us to decide without aggregating numbers; rather we should decide by coin toss or some form of lottery, or alternatively we should straightforwardly save the greater number but justify this in a non-aggregating contractualist way. This paper expands the debate beyond well-known number cases to previously under-considered probability cases, in which not (only) the numbers of people, but (also) the probabilities of success for saving people vary. It is shown that, in these latter cases, both the coin toss and the lottery lead to what is called an awkward conclusion, which makes probabilities count in a problematic way. Attempts to avoid this conclusion are shown to lead into difficulties as well. Finally, it is shown that while the greater number method cannot be justified on contractualist grounds for probability cases, it may be replaced by another decision method which is so justified. This decision method is extensionally equivalent to maximising expected value and seems to be the least problematic way of dealing with probability cases in a non-aggregating manner.

  • 4.
    Berndt Rasmussen, Katharina
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Humanities, Department of Philosophy.
    Är sannolikheter moraliskt relevanta?2011In: Filosofisk Tidskrift, ISSN 0348-7482, Vol. 32, no 4, p. 27-40Article in journal (Other academic)
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