Volume 4, Issue 1, 2012
Carl G. Wagner
Universality and Its Discontents
In framing the concept of rational consensus, decision theorists have tended to defer to an older, established literature on social welfare theory for guidance on how to proceed. But the uncritical adoption of standards meant to regulate the reconciliation of differing interests has unduly burdened the development of rational methods for the synthesis of differing judgments. In particular, the universality conditions typically postulated in social welfare theory, which derive from fundamentally ethical considerations, preclude a sensitive treatment of special cases when carried over to the realm of judgment aggregation, especially in the case of probabilistic judgment.