CPNSS Cohesion and Deliberative Decision-Making

Cohesion and Deliberative Decision-Making

This project brings together researchers in the LSE’s Departments of Government and of Philosophy, Logic and Scientific Method to investigate the contribution that deliberation can make to social cohesiveness. It does so by addressing a cluster of related issues regarding the properties of deliberation, the mechanisms by which deliberation changes attitudes, and the institutional arrangements that support free and open deliberation. The project is part of the interdisciplinary Programme on Cohesive Capitalism that is based at the LSE and funded by the Open Society Foundation. More information about this programme is available here: (https://sticerd.lse.ac.uk/cohesive-capitalism/)


The project will focus on four main areas of questioning.

  • How does deliberation contribute to social cohesion? What mechanisms serve to reinforce/weaken it? Under what conditions does open and inclusive deliberation promote shared outlooks and agreement on decisions? Under what conditions does it strengthen/weaken the cohesiveness of social, political and economic arrangements?
  • What is the relationship between properties of deliberating agents, such as the rationality of their attitudes and how they revise them in response to what others say, and the salient properties of social outcomes, such as the distribution of opinion within society (its heterogeneity/homogeneity for instance), the accuracy of individuals’ belief and the content of individuals’ preferences (especially regarding the circumstances of others in relation to their own).
  • What is the role of deliberation in supporting effective and legitimate social decision making? How must deliberation be organised and conducted in order for it to do so?
  • How should deliberative institutions be designed and how can they be built? Which arrangements best promote the accumulation of ‘deliberative capital’ within a society?


  • A regular research seminar will run all year with work-in-progress presentations and occasional invited talks.
  • A conference on the Value and Cost of Open and Inclusive Decision-Making in Health Financing, organised by Alex Voorhoeve in partnership with the World Bank and aimed at policy-makers and academics, will take place in early 2024.
  • A conference on Deliberation and Cohesion, is planned for the 2024-5 academic year. 




Richard Bradley


Richard Bradley

Richard Bradley is Professor of Philosophy in the Department of Philosophy, Logic and Scientific Method at the London School of Economics and a Fellow of the British Academy. His research is concentrated in decision theory, formal epistemology and the theory of social choice. Recently he has been doing work on policy decision making under scientific uncertainty applied to climate change, natural catastrophes and pandemics.

Email: R.Bradley@lse.ac.uk 

Alex Voorhoeve


Alex Voorhoeve

Alex Voorhoeve is Professor in the Department of Philosophy, Logic and Scientific Method at the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE). His research covers decision theory, moral psychology, and the theory and practice of fair distribution, with particular application to the allocation of resources for health. He has served on the WHO Consultative Committee on Equity and Universal Health Coverage.

Email: A.E.Voorhoeve@lse.ac.uk

Kai Spiekermann


Kai Spiekermann

Kai Spiekermann is a Professor of Political Philosophy at the LSE’s Department of Government. He works on questions in democratic theory and social epistemology. His latest book is called “A Theory of Epistemic Democracy” (OUP, with Robert E Goodin).

 Email: k.spiekermann@lse.ac.uk