[EM] Does the 'Independence of Irrelevant Alternatives Criterion' Imply a

James Green-Armytage jarmyta at antioch-college.edu
Fri Apr 2 14:55:02 PST 2004

Forest wrote:
>If you look up the recent thread on the neural network approach to
>democracy, you will see that not all list members subscribe to your
>transitive preference axiom.
>It's perfectly possible for a brain to be wired or programmed by genetics
>or experience so that someone prefers red to green, green to blue, and
>blue to red.  To over simplify, suppose that two thirds of your neurons
>prefer red to green, a different two thirds of your neurons prefer green
>to blue, and yet a different two thirds of your neurons prefer blue to
>Human individuals are composites, not atoms.
>Your axiom might be a useful approximation to reality, but like most
>axioms, it isn't an absolute truth.

I reply:
	Agreed. But basically there is no reason for a voting system to
accommodate people with intransitive preferences, since a person
expressing such preferences is either very poorly informed and forgetful
or strategically motivated. If anyone really takes the time to think about
their preferences between a set of options, they can be expected to come
up with a transitive ranking. So yes, it is an axiom which we should
accept for the purpose of voting methods design.


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