[EM] Re: Election-methods Digest, Vol 3, Issue 16

Alex Small alex_small2002 at yahoo.com
Mon Sep 6 14:30:58 PDT 2004

Warren Schudy wrote:
>Do you believe that cycles in personal preferences are rational when the
>preferences aren't used for voting? For example, would you consider it
>rational to prefer having an apple to an orange to a pear to an apple? 
>(No voting, just which would you prefer to buy if they had the same
>price). The answer to this question will help determine what postulate we
>disagree on.

Very good way of framing the question.  We can write all day long about why people might feel the way they feel, but when they have to make a choice they will reveal some sort of preference, one way or another.
Jobst Heitzig wrote:
>4. Methods based on pairwise comparisons should ask the voter for:
>pairwise comparisons, of course.

If a method is based SOLELY on pairwise data then I might agree with you.  And many of the Condorcet-type methods discussed on this list only use pairwise data to break cycles (e.g. dropping weakest defeats or whatever).  However, not all Condorcet cycle resolution techniques make exclusive use of pairwise data.  Just about any election method can be proposed as a cycle-resolution method.  Whether or not it's best to use only pairwise data to resolve cycles is of course a contentious issue.  The point is that a cycle resolution method might require ordinal rankings in addition to pairwise data.  And since you can infer pairwise data from ordinal rankings, it makes sense that some methods will use ordinal data.

>6. I did not understand a word of what Craig wrote, perhaps because I'm
>not a native speaker of the english language.
Don't feel bad.  Nobody really understands what Craig writes.  Well, Craig might.  And Markus generally tries to decipher something from it and write a courteous reply.  The rest of us have given up.
Alex Small

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