Condorcet's Jury Theorem
Published Online: 1 FEB 2013
Copyright © 2013 Blackwell Publishing Ltd. All rights reserved.
The International Encyclopedia of Ethics
How to Cite
Weirich, P. 2013. Condorcet's Jury Theorem. The International Encyclopedia of Ethics. .
- Published Online: 1 FEB 2013
A society often needs answers to questions, for example questions about a defendant's guilt. Should a society rely on an individual or a group's judgment? Condorcet's jury theorem states that if a group is polled about some proposition, then, given certain assumptions, the majority's opinion is more responsive to the truth than is an individual's opinion. If a proposition is true, a majority will more likely than an individual judge that it is true. The theorem argues for using a jury rather than a judge to decide whether a defendant is guilty (see Punishment), and in general argues for using groups rather than individuals to settle social issues, for example questions about provision of public goods (see Public Goods).
- government, politics, and law;
- decision making;