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« What's Wrong With Quantitative Ideology Models Used by The Political Science Social Club | Main | Political Science and "Measuring Liberalism" »
Tuesday
Jan272009

Martin Quinn Scores and Ideology

Ted, since you seem to know about this, can you tell me what these scores actually say about "ideology" and how you think they have anything to do with the discussion of who's more liberal and so forth? I'd really like to hear someone explain that to me. You know, for the life of me, I never understood why Oyez uses these scores as an indicator of "ideology," other than the fact that the owner of the site doesn't know anything about them. So maybe we can get all of that cleared up in here right now.

Ted, why do these scores map "justice ideology" and what in creation are you talking about when you say that? Who's left and right. Can you actually be left one day and center the next (doesn't that change the sense of talking)?

Because it seems to me that the scores are a kind of casuistry differential index of only dispositional choices. And that they are quite different from what other indicies say, and that, to declare them "ideology," one has to adopt a rather peculiar vernacular. (To say nothing, of course, that, when mapping "casuistry space," any set of choices one makes gets mapped. There is no way for the justice to not have "ideology"). So, what relevance does this have to the "who's the real liberal" pie-throwing ritual that one so often sees? More importantly, what relevance does it have to ANY discussion in jurisprudence?

Here's what I am saying to you,  Ted, and to the rest of the lawyers who know where the web site is. If Martin Quinn scores estimate anything, it would more be in the neighborhood of a set of a mathematicized choice-differential evidencing, perhaps, a sort of IDEATION, not ideology. You might say of these scores, "oh look at justice x's ideating pattern relative to y on the issue of every disposition (affirm/reverse)."  (Of course, even this is problematic because there is no measure of ideation, there is only a set of scores generated from a set of choices. You have to infer from the choices that a ideating path of some sort accompanied the choice).  

So now, tell us how this plugs into the prior discussion, because I can't see it.

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