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Over the centuries an intriguing collection of thinkers have realized that voting and social choice are not straightforward. Yet despite the work of many distinguished contributors in this area, the subject has only become established in the last few decades. Indeed, many earlier writings were lost and their content forgotten, only to be rediscovered later and then forgotten again. This puzzling saga of intellectual history unfolds in Classics of Social Choice through these original writings. The editors have included recently discovered pieces and other major contributions—newly translated where necessary. The introduction explains who each writer was, locates him in a historical context, and analyzes his argument.
The writings of Roman lawyer and senator Pliny the Younger are included here as are those of Ramon Lull, a medieval mathematician, missionary, mystic, novelist, and poet; Nicolaus Cusanus, the son of a fifteenth-century winegrower who became a cardinal; Jean-Charles de Borda, a naval engineer; the Marquis de Condorcet, a mathematician, politician, feminist, and economist who died in the French revolutionary Terror of 1794; and Charles L. Dodgson, who became famous as Lewis Carroll. All had fundamental insight into voting and what is now called social choice.
It was only in the 1940s and 1950s that the theory of social choice was established by Duncan Black and Kenneth Arrow—whose Nobel Prize in Economics was awarded in part for this work. It is now a large and thriving branch of economics and politics. Classics of Social Choice will interest anyone working in social choice theory as well as students of medieval thought, the Enlightenment, and constitutions.
I. General Introduction 1
Part 1. Precursors
2. Pliny the Younger 67
Letter to Titius Aristo, A.D. 105 67
3. Ramon Lull 71
From Blanquerna, Chapter 24, ca. 1283 71
The Art of Elections, 1299 73
4. Nicolaus Cusanus (Niklaus von Kues) 77
From On Catholic Harmony, Book III,
Chapter 37, 1434 77
Part 2. The Golden Age
5. Jean-Charles de Borda 81
On Ballot Votes: Commentary by M.J.A.N.
de Caritat, Marquis de Condorcet, 1784 81
On Elections by Ballot by M. de Borda 83
6. M.J.A.N. de Caritat, Marquis de Condorcet 91
From An Essay on the Application of Analysis to the Probability of Decisions Rendered by a Plurality of Votes, 1785 91
7. Condorcet 113
On the Constitution and the Functions of Provincial Assemblies, 1788 113
8. Condorcet 145
From A Survey of the Principles Underlying the Draft Constitution, 1792 145
9. S. Lhuilier 151
Examinations of the Election Method Proposed . . [in] France . . . 1793 . . . , 1794 151
10. Joseph Isidoro Morales 197
Mathematical Memoir on the Calculation of Opinion in Elections, 1797 197
11. P.C.F. Daunou 237
A Paper on Elections by Ballot, 1803 237
Part 3. The Nineteenth Century
12. C.L. Dodgson [Lewis Carroll] 279
A Discussion of the Various Methods of Procedure in Conducting Elections, 1873 279
Suggestions as to the Best Method of Taking Votes, Where More than Two Issues Are to Be Voted On, 1874 287
A Method of Taking Votes on More than Two Issues, 1876 288
13. Charles L. Dodgson [Lewis Carroll] 299
The Principles of Parliamentary Representation, 1884 299
14. E.J. Nanson 321
Methods of Election, 1882 321