Voting Power and Probability

Beisbart, Claus (2014). Voting Power and Probability. In: Fara, Rudolf; Leech, Dennis; Salles, Maurice (eds.) Voting Power and Procedures. Essays in Honour of Dan Felsenthal and Moshé Machover (pp. 97-116). Cham: Springer

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Voting power is commonly measured using a probability. But what kind of probability is this? Is it a degree of belief or an objective chance or some other sort of probability? The aim of this paper is to answer this question. The answer depends on the use to which a measure of voting power is put. Some objectivist interpretations of probabilities are appropriate when we employ such a measure for descriptive purposes. By contrast, when voting power is used to normatively assess voting rules, the probabilities are best understood as classical probabilities, which count possibilities. This is so because, from a normative stance, voting power is most plausibly taken to concern rights and thus possibilities. The classical interpretation also underwrites the use of the Bernoulli model upon which the Penrose/Banzhaf measure is based.

Item Type:

Book Section (Book Chapter)


06 Faculty of Humanities > Department of Art and Cultural Studies > Institute of Philosophy
06 Faculty of Humanities > Department of Art and Cultural Studies > Institute of Philosophy > Theoretical Philosophy

UniBE Contributor:

Beisbart, Claus


100 Philosophy
100 Philosophy > 170 Ethics








Claus Beisbart

Date Deposited:

16 Mar 2015 15:13

Last Modified:

16 Mar 2015 15:13




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