European Physical Journal B 85 (1):44 (15) (2012)

Authors
Igor Douven
Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique
Abstract
We present a model for studying communities of epistemically interacting agents who update their belief states by averaging the belief states of other agents in the community. The agents in our model have a rich belief state, involving multiple independent issues which are interrelated in such a way that they form a theory of the world. Our main goal is to calculate the probability for an agent to end up in an inconsistent belief state due to updating. To that end, an analytical expression is given and evaluated numerically, both exactly and using statistical sampling. It is shown that, under the assumptions of our model, an agent always has a probability of less than 2% of ending up in an inconsistent belief state. Moreover, this probability can be made arbitrarily small by increasing the number of independent issues the agents have to judge or by increasing the group size. A real-world situation to which this model applies is a group of experts participating in a Delphi-study
Keywords belief revision  multi-agent system  theory of the world  probability  inconsistency  simulation  judgement aggregation  formal social epistemology
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