CFP: Formal Models of Democracy

Submission deadline: January 24, 2022

Conference date(s):
April 20, 2022 - April 22, 2022

Go to the conference's page

Conference Venue:

EIPE, Erasmus University Rotterdam
Rotterdam, Netherlands

Topic areas


The Erasmus Institute for Philosophy and Economics (Erasmus School of Philosophy, Erasmus University of Rotterdam) and the OZSW study group on Social Choice and Group Dynamics are organising a graduate conference on Formal Models of Democracy, featuring contributed talks by junior scholars and tutorials by Hélène Landemore (Yale University) and Ulle Endriss (University of Amsterdam).

Theme of the workshop

Formal modelling (decision theory, game theory, social choice theory, agent-based models, formal epistemology) has been and continues to be an important source of insight for political philosophy in general, and democratic theory in particular. Scholars such as David Miller, John Dryzek, and Christian List have argued that democratic deliberation can provide an escape route from Arrovian impossibility results, so that the latter actually motivate, rather than undermine the former. Likewise, Hélène Landemore has drawn on mathematical theorems and agent-based models to argue against epistocracy and representative democracy, and in favour of a lottocratic, deliberative political system. Sean Ingham has similarly argued for the relevance of preference cycles for democratic theory, and introduced a counterfactual account of popular control (using tools from game theory) that can cope with such cycles.

The aim of this graduate workshop is to bring together junior scholars working on formal models and the normative theory of democracy. We specifically welcome contributions that combine both enterprises, or that critically inspect the relation between them. Presentations may but need not address one of the following questions:

·      (How) can deliberation avoid or mitigate impossibilities or inconsistencies revealed by social choice theory or game theory? Does it perhaps face other, equally challenging impossibilities?

·      What is the role of social choice theory in setting up procedures for deliberation or representative democracy?

·      What do mathematical results on group knowledge, opinion dynamics, or collective problem solving imply for the normative theory of democracy?

·      Given that deliberation is supposed to take place in small or mid-sized groups, what counts as a fair representation of citizens in deliberation?

·      How do direct democracy, representative democracy, lottocracy, and epistocracy (i.e., rule by experts) perform in terms of their output? What are suitable models or setups to check epistemic norms for democracy?

We welcome contributions by graduate students and scholars who obtained their PhD after March 1st, 2019. Depending on the number of high-quality submissions received, these junior scholars will have between 30 and 45 minutes (including Q&A) to present their work or research project.

Practical information:

In case you would like to present at the workshop, please send an email to [email protected] with the following information:

·      Subject of the email: “abstract FMD workshop”

·      Title of the presentation

·      Short (500 words) abstract

·      5 keywords

·      Your affiliation

Deadline: January 24th, 2022, 23h55 CET. We will send out the notification of acceptance by mid-February.

If the pandemic situation does not worsen significantly, the workshop will take place in person at Erasmus University of Rotterdam. In the other case, we will move it to Zoom. If the workshop takes place on campus we will look into the option of having hybrid sessions and/or contributions via video lectures for those who cannot attend on campus.

Funding & organization:

This event is organized at the Erasmus Institute for Philosophy and Economics (Erasmus School of Philosophy, Erasmus University of Rotterdam) by Frederik Van De Putte (EUR), Erica Yu (EUR), Måns Abrahamson (EUR), and Marina Uzunova (Free University of Amsterdam). It is supported by the NWO-funded ENCODE-project (VI.Vidi.191.105). It is also the second workshop organized by the OZSW study group on Social Choice and Group Dynamics.

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