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William H. Riker on Democracy - Dictionary of Arguments

Gaus I 146
Democracy/Riker/Dryzek: William Riker (1982)(1) radicalized the social choice critique of democracy by observing that different voting systems and rules avoid the Arrow problem only by introducing an element of arbitrariness into collective choice. Given that different mechanisms will produce different results from identical distributions of preferences, there is no such thing as a popular will independent of the mechanism that ascertains it. This is especially true if, as Riker believes, there is no particular reason to prefer any mechanism (e.g. majority rule, or approval voting, or consensus) over any other. Democracy is then emptied of meamng. >Deliberative democracy/Dryzek, >Deliberative democracy/Social choce theory.


1. Riker, William H. (1982) Liberalism against Populism: A Confrontation between the Theory of Democracy and the Theory of Social Choice. San Francisco: Freeman.

Dryzek, John S. 2004. „Democratic Political Theory“. In: Gaus, Gerald F. & Kukathas, Chandran 2004. Handbook of Political Theory. SAGE Publications


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Explanation of symbols: Roman numerals indicate the source, arabic numerals indicate the page number. The corresponding books are indicated on the right hand side. ((s)…): Comment by the sender of the contribution. Translations: Dictionary of Arguments
The note [Author1]Vs[Author2] or [Author]Vs[term] is an addition from the Dictionary of Arguments. If a German edition is specified, the page numbers refer to this edition.

PolRiker I
William H. Riker
Liberalism Against Populism: A Confrontation Between the Theory of Democracy and the Theory of Social Choice Long Grove, IL 1988

Gaus I
Gerald F. Gaus
Chandran Kukathas
Handbook of Political Theory London 2004


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Ed. Martin Schulz, access date 2021-05-12
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