Agreeing to Disagree Politically

Taylor, Brad R. and Bosworth, William (2020) Agreeing to Disagree Politically. New Political Economy. pp. 1-10. ISSN 1356-3467

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Abstract

Aumann's agreement theorem and subsequent work shows that people who are rational in a certain Bayesian sense cannot agree to disagree on matters of fact. This result hinges on a type of epistemic impartiality: a rational person will not give extra weight to a piece of evidence simply because they themselves discovered it rather than someone else. We extend this argument by questioning the possibility of reasonable political disagreement for political liberals. On our reading, a 'Good Liberal' must not give extra weight in public deliberations to their own preferences or values simply because they are their own. This political impartiality mirrors the epistemic impartiality of Aumann's theorem and we argue that disagreement on policy is impossible in a world of “Good Liberal Bayesians,” assuming common knowledge of both Bayesian rationality and Liberal reasonableness. The persistence and predictability of disagreement in the real world provides support for expressive accounts of political behaviour and points to the important role of epistemic trust in politics. This issue of epistemic trust provides insight into recent trends in political polarization in the United States and elsewhere.


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Item Type: Article (Commonwealth Reporting Category C)
Refereed: Yes
Item Status: Live Archive
Faculty/School / Institute/Centre: Historic - Faculty of Business, Education, Law and Arts - School of Commerce (1 Jul 2013 - 17 Jan 2021)
Faculty/School / Institute/Centre: Historic - Faculty of Business, Education, Law and Arts - School of Commerce (1 Jul 2013 - 17 Jan 2021)
Date Deposited: 27 Nov 2020 05:00
Last Modified: 01 Dec 2020 00:19
Uncontrolled Keywords: Agreeing to disagree, political liberalism, political disagreement, impartiality, Bayesian rationality, political theory
Fields of Research (2008): 14 Economics > 1402 Applied Economics > 140213 Public Economics-Public Choice
16 Studies in Human Society > 1606 Political Science > 160609 Political Theory and Political Philosophy
16 Studies in Human Society > 1606 Political Science > 160602 Citizenship
Fields of Research (2020): 44 HUMAN SOCIETY > 4408 Political science > 440802 Citizenship
44 HUMAN SOCIETY > 4408 Political science > 440811 Political theory and political philosophy
38 ECONOMICS > 3801 Applied economics > 380113 Public economics - public choice
Socio-Economic Objectives (2008): E Expanding Knowledge > 97 Expanding Knowledge > 970122 Expanding Knowledge in Philosophy and Religious Studies
E Expanding Knowledge > 97 Expanding Knowledge > 970114 Expanding Knowledge in Economics
C Society > 94 Law, Politics and Community Services > 9402 Government and Politics > 940201 Civics and Citizenship
Socio-Economic Objectives (2020): 28 EXPANDING KNOWLEDGE > 2801 Expanding knowledge > 280123 Expanding knowledge in human society
23 LAW, POLITICS AND COMMUNITY SERVICES > 2302 Government and politics > 230201 Civics and citizenship
28 EXPANDING KNOWLEDGE > 2801 Expanding knowledge > 280108 Expanding knowledge in economics
Identification Number or DOI: https://doi.org/10.1080/13563467.2020.1816948
URI: http://eprints.usq.edu.au/id/eprint/40176

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