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Erkenntnis

, 72:17 | Cite as

The Epistemic Benefit of Transient Diversity

  • Kevin J. S. Zollman
Original Article

Abstract

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.

Keywords

Peptic Ulcer Disease Beta Distribution Slot Machine Individual Scientist Complete Network 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

Notes

Acknowledgments

The author would like to thank Brian Skyrms, Kyle Stanford, Jeffrey Barrett, Bruce Glymour, Sam Hillier, Samir Grover, Kevin Kelly, Teddy Seidenfeld, Michael Strevens, Michael Weisberg, Ryan Muldoon, several contributors at the Wikipedia reference desk, and the anonymous referees for their assistance. Code for the simulations can be obtained from the author’s website: http://www.andrew.cmu.edu/users/kzollman/.

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Carnegie Mellon UniversityPittsburghUSA

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