Say there is a large election between two candidates 𝐴 and 𝐵. A winning would have a utility value of 100, B winning would have utility value 0. Going out and voting would add a (sub)value of -1 because of the inconvenience. My belief that my vote will make a difference is 0.001 and I figure out that not voting maximizes expected utility. But then I realize that other potential voters are likely to go through the same thought process as you. I estimate that around 1% of 𝐴’s supporters might go through the same process of deliberation as you and will reach the same conclusion that you will reach.

Does this change the causal expected utility of voting? Does it change the evidential expected utility (without having to make calculations)?

  • 1
    Does your realization change your credence that your vote will make a difference? Then yes.
    – Conifold
    Commented Nov 8, 2022 at 18:40
  • If you take into account tiny variations in utility due to voters going to vote or not, it is also worth taking into account the possibility of error in the estimate utility of the candidates (100 vs. 0), because of your ignorance about what they exactly stand for, who they are going to appoint, which lobbies supported them, etc.
    – Roger V.
    Commented Nov 9, 2022 at 8:36
  • Douglas Hofstadter called the process of taking in to account that others would think similarly: Superrationality, or renormalized reasoning. Yes, it can, and should, affect what you decide. That's the point of Game Theory and the Prisoner's Dilemma. Think hard about voting! Everyone else is depending on you to choose correctly!
    – Scott Rowe
    Commented Nov 9, 2022 at 11:28


You must log in to answer this question.

Browse other questions tagged .