George G. Szpiro's Numbers Rule: The Vexing Mathematics of Democracy, from PDF

By George G. Szpiro

ISBN-10: 1400834449

ISBN-13: 9781400834440

Because the very delivery of democracy in old Greece, the straightforward act of vote casting has given upward thrust to mathematical paradoxes that experience questioned the various maximum philosophers, statesmen, and mathematicians. Numbers Rule strains the epic quest via those thinkers to create a extra ideal democracy and adapt to the ever-changing calls for that every new new release locations on our democratic institutions.

In a sweeping narrative that mixes background, biography, and arithmetic, George Szpiro info the interesting lives and massive rules of serious minds resembling Plato, Pliny the more youthful, Ramon Llull, Pierre Simon Laplace, Thomas Jefferson, Alexander Hamilton, John von Neumann, and Kenneth Arrow, between many others. each one bankruptcy during this riveting publication tells the tale of 1 or extra of those visionaries and the matter they sought to beat, just like the Marquis de Condorcet, the eighteenth-century French nobleman who validated majority vote in an election would possibly not inevitably lead to a transparent winner. Szpiro takes readers from historical Greece and Rome to medieval Europe, from the founding of the yank republic and the French Revolution to today's high-stakes non-compulsory politics. He explains how mathematical paradoxes and enigmas can crop up in almost any balloting area, from electing a category president, a pope, or best minister to the apportionment of seats in Congress.

Numbers Rule describes the pains and triumphs of the thinkers down in the course of the a long time who've dared the percentages in pursuit of a simply and equitable democracy.

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Extra info for Numbers Rule: The Vexing Mathematics of Democracy, from Plato to the Present

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When Plato was about forty years old, he traveled to Crete, Egypt, Cyrene, and to Syracuse. In the latter, on the island of Sicily, Dionysius the Elder ruled with an iron fist. The tyrant’s brother-in-law, the philosopher 20 T H E A N T I - D E M O C R AT after all, a good opportunity to put his teachings to the test. However, it was not to be a successful experiment either. Dionysius II, jealous of his more capable uncle, sent Dion into exile. Plato himself was ill prepared for the intrigues at the court of Syracuse and with his friend gone, he remained without a protector.

In fact, he had shown up for the hearing—there were witnesses to prove it—but then had been persuaded by friends not to oppose Sollers’s plans. After all, Sollers was a member of the Senate, and Nominatus would be well advised not to oppose him, all the more so since the matter of rezoning had become a power play. Sollers was adamant about erecting a market on his real estate, if only to show that he wielded influence and occupied an important position. If Nominatus 24 THE LETTER WRITER would persist in arguing the townspeople’s case, his friends warned him, he would most surely come in for ill-will not only by Sollers but also by his fellow senators.

He wrote belles lettres, foremost among them the inspirational novel Blanquerna, about which I will have much more to say later. In devising his contributions to the theory of voting, Llull was led by the conviction that divine truth—the one and only God-given answer to any question of choice—is always out there somewhere. All that electors have to do is grope their way toward this truth. If they are completely honest, they will spot the best candidate or the preferred alternative. But people are sinners, which prevents them from always recognizing the truth.

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Numbers Rule: The Vexing Mathematics of Democracy, from Plato to the Present by George G. Szpiro

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