Download Numbers Rule: The Vexing Mathematics of Democracy, from by George G. Szpiro PDF

By George G. Szpiro

Because the very delivery of democracy in old Greece, the straightforward act of balloting has given upward thrust to mathematical paradoxes that experience wondered a number of the maximum philosophers, statesmen, and mathematicians. Numbers Rule strains the epic quest through 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 historical past, biography, and arithmetic, George Szpiro information the attention-grabbing lives and large rules of significant minds corresponding to Plato, Pliny the more youthful, Ramon Llull, Pierre Simon Laplace, Thomas Jefferson, Alexander Hamilton, John von Neumann, and Kenneth Arrow, between many others. every 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 bring about a transparent winner. Szpiro takes readers from old Greece and Rome to medieval Europe, from the founding of the yank republic and the French Revolution to today's high-stakes optional politics. He explains how mathematical paradoxes and enigmas can crop up in nearly any vote casting enviornment, from electing a category president, a pope, or best minister to the apportionment of seats in Congress.

Numbers Rule describes the rigors and triumphs of the thinkers down during the a while who've dared the chances in pursuit of a simply and equitable democracy.

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

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After primary education and compulsory military service, ten years of instruction in mathematics would follow and another five years’ training in dialectics. The by now thirty-five-year old aspiring guardians would then embark on fifteen-year apprenticeships in managing the affairs of the state. At age fifty, they would be ready to serve the state as philosopher-kings, making laws, adjudicating disputes, and dispensing justice. They would not own any personal wealth. Then there would be the professional soldiers.

At one point, the dialogue veers off on a tangent when one interlocutor raises the question whether justice is a worthy aim at all, that should actually be strived for. If everybody else is just, maybe an unjust citizen could reap an advantage. Does injustice pay? ) Socrates, never short of a counterexample, points out that even a gang of thieves, if they act unjustly toward each other, would not be a very successful gang. So justice, even among thieves, is somehow superior to total injustice. Finally, the philosopher gives the answer his listeners had been waiting for.

29 CHAPTER TWO ADDITIONAL READING The Eruption of Mount Vesuvius low from the debris falling into the water. Pliny’s helmsman urged him to return, but the courageous commander would have none of that. ” Rectina’s unfortunate husband had already loaded his belongings onto a boat and was ready to flee. But the winds that helped Pliny’s boat arrive, made it impossible to sail away from the coast and left him and his family stranded. Upon arrival, Pliny embraced the frightened man and comforted him, while flames loomed close by.

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