Social network structure and the achievement of consensus

It is widely believed that bringing parties with differing opinions together to discuss their differences will help both in securing consensus and also in ensuring that this consensus closely approximates the truth. This paper investigates this presumption using two mathematical and computer simulation models. Ultimately, these models show that increased contact can be useful in securing both consensus and truth, but it is not always beneficial in this way. This suggests one should not, without qualification, support policies which increase interpersonal contact if one seeks to improve the epistemic performance of groups
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DOI 10.1177/1470594X11416766
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Miriam Solomon (2001). Consensus in Science. The Proceedings of the Twentieth World Congress of Philosophy 2001:193-204.
Steve Fuller (1986). The Elusiveness of Consensus in Science. PSA: Proceedings of the Biennial Meeting of the Philosophy of Science Association 1986:106 - 119.

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