PHIL308S     Studies in Contemporary Philosophy: Voting Theory and Fair Division
Semester:Fall 2012
Instructor: Eric Pacuit
Room:SKN 1112
Meeting Times:4:30pm - 5:45pm

Much of our daily lives are spent taking part in various types of social procedures. Examples range from voting in a national election to deliberating with others in small committees. Many interesting philosophical and mathematical issues arise when we carefully examine our group decision-making processes. For example, suppose that a group of friends are deciding where to go for dinner. If everyone agrees on which restaurant is best, then it is obvious where to go. But, how should the friends decide where to go if they have different opinions about which restaurant is best?

The course will examine the main topics in voting theory. Topics include a brief history of the theory of voting, a survey of different voting methods (such as plurality rule, Borda count, Approval voting, plurality with runoff), Voting paradoxes (the Condorcet Paradox, multiple election paradox, the no- show paradox), and axiomatic characterization of voting rules. The second part of the course will introduce the general theory of fair division (including cake-cutting algorithms and an introduction to the theory of social welfare).