The Ethics of Voting

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Overview

"Jason Brennan's surprising investigation of the ethics of voting grapples with some of the most entrenched dogmas in our political culture. . . . His conclusions will shake some readers up, and our thinking about democracy will be better for the debates that are sure to ensue."—David Estlund, Brown University

"This is a fascinating book about a very important topic. . . . The Ethics of Voting abounds in interesting claims and good arguments with often surprising conclusions. Beautifully clear and eminently readable, it will be noticed."—Geoffrey Brennan, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill

"Brennan's book is provocative in the best sense of the word—a fresh and challenging approach to important matters in political theory and political ethics."—Richard Dagger, University of Richmond

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Editorial Reviews

Philosopher's Magazine

The real value of books such as this lies in their potential to raise the level of public debate. . . . Brennan's argument is detailed and searching, which means that it presents a challenge to anyone prepared to take it seriously.
— Alan Haworth
Choice
Brennan advances the extraordinarily provocative argument that the sine qua non of civic virtue is not political participation (especially not voting) but the moral duty to promote the common good. . . . Students will appreciate Brennan's highly instructive exercise in argumentation. He constructs cogent justifications for his conceptual framework, outlines reasons for rejecting contrary views, and meets plausible objections to his own formulation.
Philosophers' Magazine
The real value of books such as this lies in their potential to raise the level of public debate. . . . Brennan's argument is detailed and searching, which means that it presents a challenge to anyone prepared to take it seriously.
— Alan Haworth
Boston Globe - Josh Rothman
[Brennan's] relentless focus on the problem of 'wrongful voting' pays off. . . . [His] argument lodges a serious objection to research in political science and behavioral economics suggesting that even lazy voters can use shortcuts to vote well.
Boston Globe
[Brennan's] relentless focus on the problem of 'wrongful voting' pays off. . . . [His] argument lodges a serious objection to research in political science and behavioral economics suggesting that even lazy voters can use shortcuts to vote well.
— Josh Rothman
Philosopher's Magazine - Alan Haworth
The real value of books such as this lies in their potential to raise the level of public debate. . . . Brennan's argument is detailed and searching, which means that it presents a challenge to anyone prepared to take it seriously.
From the Publisher
"[Brennan's] relentless focus on the problem of 'wrongful voting' pays off. . . . [His] argument lodges a serious objection to research in political science and behavioral economics suggesting that even lazy voters can use shortcuts to vote well."—Josh Rothman, Boston Globe

"The real value of books such as this lies in their potential to raise the level of public debate. . . . Brennan's argument is detailed and searching, which means that it presents a challenge to anyone prepared to take it seriously."—Alan Haworth, Philosopher's Magazine

"Brennan advances the extraordinarily provocative argument that the sine qua non of civic virtue is not political participation (especially not voting) but the moral duty to promote the common good. . . . Students will appreciate Brennan's highly instructive exercise in argumentation. He constructs cogent justifications for his conceptual framework, outlines reasons for rejecting contrary views, and meets plausible objections to his own formulation."—
Choice

"The Ethics of Voting . . . offers a set of provocative and tightly-argued claims. It also changes the way scholars across the social sciences and humanities might want to ask questions about voting. . . . Jason Brennan has written a short, accessible, and tight book that deserves a place on scholars bookshelves."—Art Carden, Public Choice

America
[T]houghtful. . . . Brennan is a good guide through philosophically complex territory. He writes clearly, uses analogies well and includes some nice humorous turns. It is a worthwhile book, if not ultimately convincing.
— David Carroll Cochran
America - David Carroll Cochran
[T]houghtful. . . . Brennan is a good guide through philosophically complex territory. He writes clearly, uses analogies well and includes some nice humorous turns. It is a worthwhile book, if not ultimately convincing.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780691154442
  • Publisher: Princeton University Press
  • Publication date: 4/29/2012
  • Pages: 232
  • Sales rank: 1,500,940
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 1.54 (d)

Meet the Author

Jason Brennan is assistant professor of ethics at Georgetown University. He is the coauthor of "A Brief History of Liberty".

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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments ix
Introduction: Voting as an Ethical Issue 1
Chapter One: Arguments for a Duty to Vote 15
Chapter Two: Civic Virtue without Politics 43
Chapter Three: Wrongful Voting 68
Chapter Four: Deference and Abstention 95
Chapter Five: For the Common Good 112
Chapter Six: Buying and Selling Votes 135
Chapter Seven: How Well Do Voters Behave? 161
Afterword to the Paperback Edition: How to Vote Well 179
Notes 185
References 205
Index 213

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