Aggregating out of Indeterminacy
Social Choice theory to the Rescue
Originally published in Politics, Philosophy, and Economics
This article explores public reason liberalism’s indeterminacy problem, a problem that obtains when we admit significant diversity into our justificatory model. The article argues first that Gerald Gaus’s solution to the indeterminacy problem is unsatisfactory and second that, contra Gaus’s concerns, social choice theory is able to solve public reason’s indeterminacy problem. Moreover, social choice theory can do so in a way that avoids the worries raised against Gaus’s solution to the indeterminacy problem as well as the worries Gaus himself raises against the use of social choice mechanisms. Social choice theory thus rescues public reason liberalism by aggregating out of indeterminacy.