David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
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Synthese 172 (3):317 - 340 (2010)
Conformity is an often criticized feature of human belief formation. Although generally regarded as a negative influence on reliability, it has not been widely studied. This paper attempts to determine the epistemic effects of conformity by analyzing a mathematical model of this behavior. In addition to investigating the effect of conformity on the reliability of individuals and groups, this paper attempts to determine the optimal structure for conformity. That is, supposing that conformity is inevitable, what is the best way for conformity effects to occur? The paper finds that in some contexts conformity effects are reliability inducing and, more surprisingly even when it is counterproductive, not all methods for reducing its effect are helpful. These conclusions contribute to a larger discussion in social epistemology regarding the effect of social behavior on individual reliability.
|Keywords||Conformity Social network Social structure Social epistemology Agent based model|
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Philip Kitcher (1993). The Advancement of Science: Science Without Legend, Objectivity Without Illusions. Oxford University Press.
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Michael Weisberg & Ryan Muldoon (2009). Epistemic Landscapes and the Division of Cognitive Labor. Philosophy of Science 76 (2):225-252.
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Citations of this work BETA
Thomas Boyer (2014). Is a Bird in the Hand Worth Two in the Bush? Or, Whether Scientists Should Publish Intermediate Results. Synthese 191 (1):17-35.
Michael Fuerstein (2013). Epistemic Trust and Liberal Justification. Journal of Political Philosophy 21 (2):179-199.
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