Welcome to the website of the ANR-DFG research project ColAForm !
What we do:
The goal of the project is to understand how, and when, deliberation and aggregation can be conjoined in order to arrive at better processes of collective attitude formation. We study how deliberation can be better geared towards aggregation, and how to enrich current models of belief and preference aggregation to make them more amenable to the results of deliberation.
Preferences and beliefs are routinely attributed to groups. A jury can believe the accused to be guilty, and a professional board can officially voice its disapproval of certain practices by its members. The project aims at bridging the gap between the two main paradigms in formal philosophy and economics on the formation of such collective attitudes: the deliberative and the aggregative views. On the deliberative view, group attitudes stem from a consensus reached after a structured exchange of opinions. On the aggregative view, group attitudes are formed by putting together the possibly diverging views of individuals, through a formal voting procedure for instance.
Deliberation and aggregation are two stages in the process of collective attitude formation. We cannot deliberate endlessly. When disagreements persist, aggregating, e.g. by voting, might be the only way to arrive at a group opinion. So deliberation and aggregation are not competing, but complementary approaches. Up to now, however, they have mostly been studied separately. This is an important limitation, at many authors have defended the view that deliberation and aggregation can enhance each other: Deliberation can help aggregation, for instance by preventing preference cycles. And aggregation can take heed of the fact that, for instance, an opinion cluster can form through deliberation.