, 72:17

The Epistemic Benefit of Transient Diversity

Original Article

DOI: 10.1007/s10670-009-9194-6

Cite this article as:
Zollman, K.J.S. Erkenn (2010) 72: 17. doi:10.1007/s10670-009-9194-6


There is growing interest in understanding and eliciting division of labor within groups of scientists. This paper illustrates the need for this division of labor through a historical example, and a formal model is presented to better analyze situations of this type. Analysis of this model reveals that a division of labor can be maintained in two different ways: by limiting information or by endowing the scientists with extreme beliefs. If both features are present however, cognitive diversity is maintained indefinitely, and as a result agents fail to converge to the truth. Beyond the mechanisms for creating diversity suggested here, this shows that the real epistemic goal is not diversity but transient diversity.

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Carnegie Mellon UniversityPittsburghUSA