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Johann Bernoulli Colloquium, Stephan Hartmann

02 February 2011

Date:Wednesday, February 2nd, 2011

Speaker:Stephan Hartmann, Tilburg University

Center for Logic and Philosophy of Science

Room:5161.0267 (Bernoulliborg)

Time:16.15-Join us for coffee and tea at 15:45

Title:Voting, Deliberation, and Truth

Abstract: There are various ways to reach a group decision. One is to simply vote and decide what the majority votes for. This procedure receives some epistemological support from the Condorcet Jury Theorem. Alternatively, the group members deliberate and will eventually reach a decision that everybody endorses -- a consensus. While the latter procedure has the advantage that it makes everybody happy (as everybody endorses the consensus), it has the disadvantage that it is difficult to implement, especially for larger groups. What is more, a deliberation is easy to bias as those group members who make others change their mind may not necessarily be the best truth-trackers. But even if no such biases are present, the consensus may be far away from the truth. And so we ask: Is deliberation a better method than simple majority voting if the group's goal is to track the truth? To address this question, we propose a Bayesian model of rational deliberation and compare it to the straight forward voting procedure. The talk is based on joint work with Soroush Rafiee Rad (Tilburg).

Stephan Hartmann is Chair in Epistemology and Philosophy of Science in the Department of Philosophy at TilburgUniversity and Director of the TilburgCenter for Logic and Philosophy of Science. He was formerly Professor of Philosophy in the Department of Philosophy, Logic and Scientific Method at the London School of Economics and Director of LSE's Centre for Philosophy of Natural and Social Science. From 2002-2005, he directed the research group Philosophy, Probability and Modeling at the University of Konstanz. His primary research and teaching areas are general philosophy of science, formal epistemology, philosophy of physics, and political philosophy. Hartmann published numerous articles and the book Bayesian Epistemology (with Luc Bovens) that appeared in 2003 with Oxford University Press. His current research interests include intertheoretic relations, (upper) probabilities in quantum mechanics, no alternatives arguments, formal social epistemology, and the philosophy and psychology of reasoning.

Colloquium coordinators Mathematics are Prof.dr. A.C.D. van Enter (e-mail : and Dr. M. Dür (e-mail: Colloquium coordinators Computer Science are Prof.dr. M. Aiello (e-mail: and Prof.dr. M. Biehl (e-mail:

Last modified:06 June 2018 2.05 p.m.

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