Synthese:1-22 (2018)

Authors
James Weatherall
University of California, Irvine
Cailin O'Connor
University of California, Irvine
Abstract
Scientists are generally subject to social pressures, including pressures to conform with others in their communities, that affect achievement of their epistemic goals. Here we analyze a network epistemology model in which agents, all else being equal, prefer to take actions that conform with those of their neighbors. This preference for conformity interacts with the agents’ beliefs about which of two possible actions yields the better result. We find a range of possible outcomes, including stable polarization in belief and action. The model results are sensitive to network structure. In general, though, conformity has a negative effect on a community’s ability to reach accurate consensus about the world.
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DOI 10.1007/s11229-019-02520-2
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References found in this work BETA

Robustness and Idealizations in Agent-Based Models of Scientific Interaction.Daniel Frey & Dunja Šešelja - 2020 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 71 (4):1411-1437.

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Citations of this work BETA

Scientific Polarization.Cailin O’Connor & James Owen Weatherall - 2017 - European Journal for Philosophy of Science 8 (3):855-875.

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