The communication structure of epistemic communities

Philosophy of Science 74 (5):574-587 (2007)
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Increasingly, epistemologists are becoming interested in social structures and their effect on epistemic enterprises, but little attention has been paid to the proper distribution of experimental results among scientists. This paper will analyze a model first suggested by two economists, which nicely captures one type of learning situation faced by scientists. The results of a computer simulation study of this model provide two interesting conclusions. First, in some contexts, a community of scientists is, as a whole, more reliable when its members are less aware of their colleagues' experimental results. Second, there is a robust tradeoff between the reliability of a community and the speed with which it reaches a correct conclusion. ‡The author would like to thank Brian Skyrms, Kyle Stanford, Jeffrey Barrett, Bruce Glymour, and the participants in the Social Dynamics Seminar at University of California–Irvine for their helpful comments. Generous financial support was provided by the School of Social Science and Institute for Mathematical Behavioral Sciences at UCI. †To contact the author, please write to: Department of Philosophy, Baker Hall 135, Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh, PA 15213-3890; e-mail: [email protected].



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Author's Profile

Kevin Zollman
Carnegie Mellon University

Citations of this work

Bayesian Philosophy of Science.Jan Sprenger & Stephan Hartmann - 2019 - Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press.
Epistemic Advantage on the Margin: A Network Standpoint Epistemology.Jingyi Wu - 2022 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research (3):1-23.

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References found in this work

Knowledge in a social world.Alvin I. Goldman - 1999 - New York: Oxford University Press.
Bayesian Epistemology.Luc Bovens & Stephan Hartmann - 2003 - Oxford: Oxford University Press. Edited by Stephan Hartmann.
The division of cognitive labor.Philip Kitcher - 1990 - Journal of Philosophy 87 (1):5-22.
The Role of the Priority Rule in Science.Michael Strevens - 2003 - Journal of Philosophy 100 (2):55-79.

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