[EM] [CES #4445] Re: Looking at Condorcet

robert bristow-johnson rbj at audioimagination.com
Sat Feb 4 09:14:40 PST 2012

On 2/4/12 4:12 AM, Kristofer Munsterhjelm wrote:
> On 02/04/2012 06:47 AM, robert bristow-johnson wrote:
>> On 2/3/12 11:06 PM, Jameson Quinn wrote:
>>> No, he's saying that when the CW and the true, honest utility winner
>>> differ, the latter is better. I agree, but it's not an argument worth
>>> making, because most people who don't already agree will think it's a
>>> stupid one.
>> as do i. it's like saying that the Pope ain't sufficiently Catholic or
>> something like that. or that someone is better at being Woody Allen than
>> Woody Allen.
>> but for the moment, would you (Jameson, Clay, whoever) tell me, in as
>> clear (without unnecessary nor undefined jargon) and technical language
>> as possible, what/who the "true, honest utility winner" is? how is this
>> candidate defined, in terms the preference of the voters?
> Utilitarianism is a form of ethics that proposes that the actions to 
> be taken are the ones that produces the greatest good for the greatest 
> number.

thank you.  i *did* know what Utilitarianism is and suspected that the 
term "utility" referred to that.  and i understand the different norms 
for combining the individual utility measures to get an aggregate 
measure of utility to the group.  the "taxicab norm" and the minmax 
(more like the maxmin) norm was brought up.  no one seemed to mention 
the Euclidian norm.

i would say that the most fair combination is the mean magnitude 
(taxicab) because it weights every voter's franchise equally.  but what 
is left unanswered is how the measure of utility for each voter is 
defined.  we can say that, for each voter that voted for the eventual 
winner as their 1st choice (or most highly scored), their measure of 
utility is "1".  but what measure of utility do you assign to voters 
that did not get their 1st choice?  that is not well defined.  given 
Abd's example:

> 2: Pepperoni (0.61), Cheese (0.5), Mushroom (0.4)
> 1: Cheese (0.8), Mushroom (0.7), Pepperoni (0)

who says that for that 1 voter that the utility of Cheese is 0.8?  how 
is that function defined in the "proof" that Clay repeatedly refers to 
where "it's a mathematically proven fact that Score does a better job 
picking the Condorcet winner than does Condorcet"?  it's such a 
subjective thing and it can be defined in so many ways that i am dubious 
of any tight mathematical "proof" that is based on that.  it's not 
subject defining the boundaries.  if you get exactly what you want, the 
utility metric is 1.  if you get *nothing* of what you want, the utility 
is 0 (i.e. that pizza voter on the bottom may be a vegetarian and would 
not be eating pizza at all, if they got Pepperoni).  there's a whole 
range of quantity that goes in between that is not objectively defined.

so, i have a few questions for everyone here:

     1.  do we all agree that every voter's franchise is precisely equal?
     2.  if each voter's franchise is equal, should we expect any voter
         that has an opinion regarding the candidates/choices to
         voluntarily dilute the weight or effectiveness of their vote,
         even if their preference is weak?
     3.  so, based on the answers to 1 and 2, if there is an election or
         choice between only two alternatives (yes/no) or two candidates,
         that this election be decided any differently than, as we
         were told in elementary school, the "simple majority" with
         "one person, one vote"?

if the answer to 3 is "no", on what basis would you assign non-equal 
weighting to each vote?  or if "simple majority" is not the criteria for 
the collective decision, what is the alternative?  award office to the 
candidate with the minority vote?


r b-j                  rbj at audioimagination.com

"Imagination is more important than knowledge."

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