[EM] The structuring of power and the composition of norms by communicative assent

Juho Laatu juho4880 at yahoo.co.uk
Sun Jan 25 00:46:59 PST 2009

--- On Fri, 23/1/09, Michael Allan <mike at zelea.com> wrote:

> > > with these counter-features:
> > > 
> > >   a) continuous results, with shifting votes
> > 
> > Maybe mostly positive, but also
> > something negative.
> Hopefully the negative parts are corrected in the synergy
> with the
> government's voting systems (?).

You indicated that you would use this
method so that it would not be tied to
the formal decision making process.
That reduces the continuous voting
related problems.

> > >   c) open ballot
> > 
> > What was the reason why you consider
> > open vote to be a requirement? (or a 
> > "counter-feature")
> I read your other post.  I understand you are asking about
> the
> necessity of open voting at the periphery, among plain
> voters.


> You've been asking this question from the beginning,
> and it's been
> difficult for me to answer definitively.  Now I see
> there's a big
> white space in the theory, where the answer should fit.  I
> don't have
> the whole of it covered yet (been thinking about it, the
> last couple
> of days) but here's a sketch of it:
> There's difference when we speak in public, with an aim
> to mutual
> understanding or consensus.  We are forced to take the view
> of the
> others to whom we are speaking.  We are forced to be
> self-critical in
> anticipation of their challenges, to prepare ourselves to
> reasons for
> what we say, to back up the claims we make.  There is a
> theory that
> ties these various types of claims to to various types of
> speech acts,
> and it's called formal pragmatics.^[TCA1]
> This has been tied to autonomy, rational agency and
> responsibility, to
> the effect that only a public speaker in this social
> context is an
> autonomous individual, a rational and responsible
> actor.^[1]
> A public vote is the formalization of a speech act, and is
> covered by
> these theories.  The opinion of a private individual that
> is expressed
> as a public vote has a claim to truth, legitimacy and
> sincerity that a
> private opinion (not so expressed) has not.

Yes. A public vote is a public claim and
therefore the individual may carefully
consider what she says, and she may
commit to what she says. I wouldn't say
that this opinion is more sincere than
her private thoughts that she might
express in a secret vote.

The public vote is maybe more ""sincere""
in the sense that that opinion will hold
(since doing otherwise would not look nice)
but not more sincere in the sense of
representing her true feelings inside
(maybe e.g. more unstable ones).

> There is a connection between communicative reason (in
> these public
> utterances) and the rationalization of modern society.  The
> rationalization of modern society is its division into
> specialized
> spheres and subsystems - like public sphere, private
> sphere, economic
> system, and administration system - that spin according to
> their own
> internal logics, and interrelate across interfaces.  This
> correlates
> with our rationalization of voting systems, splitting them
> into
> separate systems of the public sphere (on one hand) and
> administrative
> system (on other) - each specialized for its place and
> purpose, and in
> communication with the other.  So we modernize voting.
> There is a connection between human reason (how we moderns
> think and
> speak) and the rationalization of modern society.  I do not
> understand
> it well enough, but there's a sense in which the
> universality of
> communicative action (its inclusion of others, and raising
> of validity
> claims) can bind together the fragmented pieces of modern
> society.
> It's the last "glue" that's left to us
> moderns.  Both the
> fragmentation and the glue are enhanced by the addition of
> public
> voting.  It separates out two voting systems (public and
> private) that
> work better when kept apart (but in communication).  It
> also helps to
> separate the public sphere from the other parts of society,
> while
> simultaneously binding it to them.  So we make modern
> society even
> more modern - ultra modern.
> There is a sense too in which this might further the
> critical theory
> of society.  That type of theory is supposed to be both
> diagnostic of
> problems, and to propose remedies, but it tends to be weak
> on remedies
> these days.^[2] And it's traditional in critical theory
> that the
> remedy is in the evil - the spear of modernity must heal
> the wound of
> modernity.^[3]
> There is also the consideration that this type of public
> voting may be
> applied to a text that is broadly cultural, and yet has
> normative
> potential.  What would it mean, for instance, if people
> were to begin
> voting on utopian visions of society?  Is that another way
> to glue
> society together (science, art, politics, etc.) and steer
> the whole
> with a sense of purpose.  Nobody has ever thought along
> these lines,
> so far as I know.  But there are hints in Segal.^[4]
> (If above can be redacted, it would put real flesh on the
> theory.)

I agree that the modern society would
benefit of better deliberative systems
that use public voting/opinions.

In addition I think that also the secret
vote based methods of modern societies
could benefit of corresponding
deliberative/proxy systems. I note that
the (at least partially) secret vote
based systems are likely to be able to
collect opinions from wider set of
citizens, and the expressed opinions may
reflect more the internal feelings of
the voters (as opposed to publicly
expressed commitments that the public
votes/expressions tend to record).

Both public debate and secret vote based
opinion measuring are needed and may be
developed further. Mixtures of these two
are possible and may collect benefits of
both (and some of the problems too).



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