Michael Schulson: How to choose?

A few weeks back, I was interviewed for an article in Aeon Magazine. That article, entitled “How to Choose? When Your Reasons Are Worse than Useless, Sometimes the Most Rational Choice Is a Random Stab in the Dark,” has now appeared online.

Some interesting sources cited in it (and not just my book…).

One Response

  1. I was surprised to hear from the author a couple of months ago that Aeon had commissioned another article on sortition, so soon after Alex Guerrero’s piece on lottocracy, and I’m glad that it’s turned out so different. In fact the brief reference to the modern interest in sortition-based representative assemblies doesn’t really work as it’s the only case where reasons are important:

    “Advocates of sortition suggest applying that principle more broadly, to congresses and parliaments, in order to create a legislature that closely reflects the actual composition of a state’s citizenship.” [my emphasis]

    I think he included this in order not to disappoint those of us who spent time discussing this aspect of sortition with him. It strikes me that Peter’s argument for the arational sanitising effects of flipping a coin and the argument for “a legislature that closely reflects . . .” are so different that they really merit two different terms (sortition and statistical representation). At least that’s what I’ll be arguing at the IPSA sortition panel next week: https://www.ipsa.org/my-ipsa/events/montreal2014/panel/sortition-democratic-procedure

    Most of Michael’s writing is on religion and the focus on the connection between lottery and divination in this piece makes me wonder if we have been a little hasty in rejecting Fustel de Coulange’s arguments on the religious origins of the lot. Perhaps we like to see the Greeks (the inventors of democracy and philosophy) as more rational than they really were.


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