[SydPhil] (no subject)

Rachael Brown rachael.brown at mq.edu.au
Thu Mar 12 16:32:21 AEDT 2015

Please note the following upcoming event as part of the Macquarie
University Lunchtime Seminar Series.


"The Liberal Paradox"

Dr. Rachael Briggs (Griffith/ANU)
Wednesday 18th March, 1-2pm
W3A Rm 501 (Blackshield Room)

Liberal societies must reconcile two conflicting requirements: ensuring
that each individual has a protected sphere of choice, and satisfying
majority preferences.  Amartya Sen's Liberal Paradox in an attempt to
translate this problem into the language of voting rules that govern group
compromise between individual preferences.  The Pareto Principle requires
that unanimous preferences be preserved by any group compromise, while the
Liberal Principle requires that each individual have some pair of options,
such that her preference in those options is reflected in the group
compromise, come what may.  Sen shows that in some situations, these two
principles cannot be jointly satisfied.

Critics of Sen have complained that his example of a paradoxical situation
is unrealistic, and his formal principles do not map very naturally onto
the motivations, informally described.  I develop a more realistic example,
and reframe the Liberal Paradox in terms using the 'reasons' which better
capture the underlying motivations.  I argue that in my framework both the
Pareto Principle and the Liberal Principle are motivated by the same
underlying thought--that if an opinion is held unanimously by everyone for
whom it is a legitimate object of concern, then the group consensus should
reflect the unanimous opinion.  The conflict between the LiberalPrinciple
and the Pareto Principle comes from a disagreement about the extent of each
individual's domain of concern.

Feel free to bring your lunch. Bring a coffee mug if you would like a tea
or coffee.

Contact: Rachael Brown (rachael.brown at mq.edu.au), Paul Formosa (
paul.formosa at mq.edu.au), Mike Olson (michael.olson at mq.edu.au)

A google calendar with details of other events in this series is available
for viewing and subscription by following this link:


Other upcoming talks in this series:
March 24th: Richard Menary (Macquarie)
March 31st: Katrina Hutchison (Macquarie)
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