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Kevin J. S. Zollman [25]Kevin Zollman [5]Kevin Js Zollman [2]
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Kevin Zollman
Carnegie Mellon University
  1. The Epistemic Benefit of Transient Diversity.Kevin J. S. Zollman - 2010 - Erkenntnis 72 (1):17-35.
    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, (...)
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  2.  35
    The Credit Economy and the Economic Rationality of Science.Kevin J. S. Zollman - 2018 - Journal of Philosophy 115 (1):5-33.
    Theories of scientific rationality typically pertain to belief. In this paper, the author argues that we should expand our focus to include motivations as well as belief. An economic model is used to evaluate whether science is best served by scientists motivated only by truth, only by credit, or by both truth and credit. In many, but not all, situations, scientists motivated by both truth and credit should be judged as the most rational scientists.
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  3. The Communication Structure of Epistemic Communities.Kevin J. S. Zollman - 2007 - Philosophy of Science 74 (5):574-587.
    Increasingly, epistemologists are becoming interested in social structures and their effect on epistemic enterprises, but little attention has been paid to the proper distribution of experimental results among scientists. This paper will analyze a model first suggested by two economists, which nicely captures one type of learning situation faced by scientists. The results of a computer simulation study of this model provide two interesting conclusions. First, in some contexts, a community of scientists is, as a whole, more reliable when its (...)
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  4. The Independence Thesis: When Individual and Social Epistemology Diverge.Conor Mayo-Wilson, Kevin J. S. Zollman & David Danks - 2011 - Philosophy of Science 78 (4):653-677.
    In the latter half of the twentieth century, philosophers of science have argued (implicitly and explicitly) that epistemically rational individuals might compose epistemically irrational groups and that, conversely, epistemically rational groups might be composed of epistemically irrational individuals. We call the conjunction of these two claims the Independence Thesis, as they together imply that methodological prescriptions for scientific communities and those for individual scientists might be logically independent of one another. We develop a formal model of scientific inquiry, define four (...)
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  5. Network Epistemology: Communication in Epistemic Communities.Kevin J. S. Zollman - 2013 - Philosophy Compass 8 (1):15-27.
    Much of contemporary knowledge is generated by groups not single individuals. A natural question to ask is, what features make groups better or worse at generating knowledge? This paper surveys research that spans several disciplines which focuses on one aspect of epistemic communities: the way they communicate internally. This research has revealed that a wide number of different communication structures are best, but what is best in a given situation depends on particular details of the problem being confronted by the (...)
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  6.  2
    Between Cheap and Costly Signals: The Evolution of Partially Honest Communication.Kevin J. S. Zollman, Carl T. Bergstrom & Simon M. Huttegger - unknown
    Costly signalling theory has become a common explanation for honest communication when interests conflict. In this paper, we provide an alternative explanation for partially honest communication that does not require significant signal costs. We show that this alternative is at least as plausible as traditional costly signalling, and we suggest a number of experiments that might be used to distinguish the two theories.
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  7.  19
    Conservatism and the Scientific State of Nature.Erich Kummerfeld & Kevin J. S. Zollman - 2015 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 67 (4):1057-1076.
    Those who comment on modern scientific institutions are often quick to praise institutional structures that leave scientists to their own devices. These comments reveal an underlying presumption that scientists do best when left alone—when they operate in what we call the ‘scientific state of nature’. Through computer simulation, we challenge this presumption by illustrating an inefficiency that arises in the scientific state of nature. This inefficiency suggests that one cannot simply presume that science is most efficient when institutional control is (...)
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  8.  37
    Research at the Auction Block: Problems for the Fair Benefits Approach to International Research.Alex John London & Kevin J. S. Zollman - 2010 - Hastings Center Report 40 (4):34-45.
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  9. Evolutionary Dynamics of Lewis Signaling Games: Signaling Systems Vs. Partial Pooling.Simon Huttegger, Brian Skyrms, Rory Smead & Kevin Zollman - 2010 - Synthese 172 (1):177-191.
    Transfer of information between senders and receivers, of one kind or another, is essential to all life. David Lewis introduced a game theoretic model of the simplest case, where one sender and one receiver have pure common interest. How hard or easy is it for evolution to achieve information transfer in Lewis signaling?. The answers involve surprising subtleties. We discuss some if these in terms of evolutionary dynamics in both finite and infinite populations, with and without mutation.
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  10.  15
    Natural Conventions and Indirect Speech Arts.Mandy Simons & Kevin J. S. Zollman - 2019 - Philosophers' Imprint 19.
    In this paper, we develop the notion of a natural convention, and illustrate its usefulness in a detailed examination of indirect requests in English. Our treatment of convention is grounded in Lewis’s seminal account; we do not here redefine convention, but rather explore the space of possibilities within Lewis’s definition, highlighting certain types of variation that Lewis de-emphasized. Applied to the case of indirect requests, which we view through a Searlean lens, the notion of natural convention allows us to give (...)
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  11. The Role of Forgetting in the Evolution and Learning of Language.Jeffrey Barrett & Kevin J. S. Zollman - unknown
    Lewis signaling games illustrate how language might evolve from random behavior. The probability of evolving an optimal signaling language is, in part, a function of what learning strategy the agents use. Here we investigate three learning strategies, each of which allows agents to forget old experience. In each case, we find that forgetting increases the probability of evolving an optimal language. It does this by making it less likely that past partial success will continue to reinforce suboptimal practice. The learning (...)
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  12.  54
    Talking to Neighbors: The Evolution of Regional Meaning.Kevin J. S. Zollman - 2005 - Philosophy of Science 72 (1):69-85.
    In seeking to explain the evolution of social cooperation, many scholars are using increasingly complex game-theoretic models. These complexities often model readily observable features of human and animal populations. In the case of previous games analyzed in the literature, these modifications have had radical effects on the stability and efficiency properties of the models. We will analyze the effect of adding spatial structure to two communication games: the Lewis Sender-Receiver game and a modified Stag Hunt game. For the Stag Hunt, (...)
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  13.  67
    Separating Directives and Assertions Using Simple Signaling Games.Kevin J. S. Zollman - 2011 - Journal of Philosophy 108 (3):158-169.
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  14.  16
    Dynamic Stability and Basins of Attraction in the Sir Philip Sidney Game.Simon M. Huttegger & Kevin J. S. Zollman - unknown
    We study the handicap principle in terms of the Sir Philip Sidney game. The handicap principle asserts that cost is required to allow for honest signalling in the face of conflicts of interest. We show that the significance of the handicap principle can be challenged from two new directions. Firstly, both the costly signalling equilibrium and certain states of no communication are stable under the replicator dynamics ; however, the latter states are more likely in cases where honest signalling should (...)
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  15.  32
    Modeling the Social Consequences of Testimonial Norms.Kevin J. S. Zollman - 2015 - Philosophical Studies 172 (9):2371-2383.
    This paper approaches the problem of testimony from a new direction. Rather than focusing on the epistemic grounds for testimony, it considers the problem from the perspective of an individual who must choose whom to trust from a population of many would-be testifiers. A computer simulation is presented which illustrates that in many plausible situations, those who trust without attempting to judge the reliability of testifiers outperform those who attempt to seek out the more reliable members of the community. In (...)
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  16.  43
    Probe and Adjust in Information Transfer Games.Simon M. Huttegger, Brian Skyrms & Kevin J. S. Zollman - 2014 - Erkenntnis 79 (S4):1-19.
    We study a low-rationality learning dynamics called probe and adjust. Our emphasis is on its properties in games of information transfer such as the Lewis signaling game or the Bala-Goyal network game. These games fall into the class of weakly better reply games, in which, starting from any action profile, there is a weakly better reply path to a strict Nash equilibrium. We prove that probe and adjust will be close to strict Nash equilibria in this class of games with (...)
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  17.  78
    Social Structure and the Effects of Conformity.Kevin Zollman - 2010 - Synthese 172 (3):317-340.
    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 (...)
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  18. Wisdom of the Crowds Vs. Groupthink: Learning in Groups and in Isolation.Conor Mayo-Wilson, Kevin Zollman & David Danks - 2013 - International Journal of Game Theory 42 (3):695-723.
    We evaluate the asymptotic performance of boundedly-rational strategies in multi-armed bandit problems, where performance is measured in terms of the tendency (in the limit) to play optimal actions in either (i) isolation or (ii) networks of other learners. We show that, for many strategies commonly employed in economics, psychology, and machine learning, performance in isolation and performance in networks are essentially unrelated. Our results suggest that the appropriateness of various, common boundedly-rational strategies depends crucially upon the social context (if any) (...)
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  19.  44
    Optimal Publishing Strategies.Kevin J. S. Zollman - 2009 - Episteme 6 (2):185-199.
    Journals regulate a significant portion of the communication between scientists. This paper devises an agent-based model of scientific practice and uses it to compare various strategies for selecting publications by journals. Surprisingly, it appears that the best selection method for journals is to publish relatively few papers and to select those papers it publishes at random from the available “above threshold” papers it receives. This strategy is most effective at maintaining an appropriate type of diversity that is needed to solve (...)
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  20.  36
    Plasticity and Language: An Example of the Baldwin Effect?Kevin J. S. Zollman & Rory Smead - 2010 - Philosophical Studies 147 (1):7-21.
    In recent years, many scholars have suggested that the Baldwin effect may play an important role in the evolution of language. However, the Baldwin effect is a multifaceted and controversial process and the assessment of its connection with language is difficult without a formal model. This paper provides a first step in this direction. We examine a game-theoretic model of the interaction between plasticity and evolution in the context of a simple language game. Additionally, we describe three distinct aspects of (...)
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  21.  40
    Explaining Fairness in Complex Environments.Kevin J. S. Zollman - 2008 - Politics, Philosophy and Economics 7 (1):81-97.
    This article presents the evolutionary dynamics of three games: the Nash bargaining game, the ultimatum game, and a hybrid of the two. One might expect that the probability that some behavior evolves in an environment with two games would be near the probability that the same behavior evolves in either game alone. This is not the case for the ultimatum and Nash bargaining games. Fair behavior is more likely to evolve in a combined game than in either game taken individually. (...)
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  22.  21
    The Handicap Principle Is an Artifact.Simon M. Huttegger, Justin P. Bruner & Kevin J. S. Zollman - 2015 - Philosophy of Science 82 (5):997-1009.
    The handicap principle is one of the most influential ideas in evolutionary biology. It asserts that when there is conflict of interest in a signaling interaction signals must be costly in order to be reliable. While in evolutionary biology it is a common practice to distinguish between indexes and fakable signals, we argue this dichotomy is an artifact of existing popular signaling models. Once this distinction is abandoned, we show one cannot adequately understand signaling behavior by focusing solely on cost. (...)
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  23.  51
    Finding Alternatives to Handicap Theory.Kevin J. S. Zollman - 2013 - Biological Theory 8 (2):127-132.
    The Handicap Principle represents a central theory in the biological understanding of signaling. This paper presents a number of alternative theories to the Handicap Principle and argues that some of these theories may provide a better explanation for the evolution and stability of honest communication.
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  24.  20
    The Stability of Strategic Plasticity.Rory Smead & Kevin J. S. Zollman - unknown
    Recent research into the evolution of higher cognition has piqued an interest in the effect of natural selection on the ability of creatures to respond to their environment. It is believed that environmental variation is required for plasticity to evolve in cases where the ability to be plastic is costly. We investigate one form of environmental variation: frequency dependent selection. Using tools in game theory, we investigate a few models of plasticity and outline the cases where selection would be expected (...)
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  25.  41
    The Stability of Strategic Plasticity.Rory Smead & Kevin J. S. Zollman - manuscript
    Recent research into the evolution of higher cognition has piqued an interest in the effect of natural selection on the ability of creatures to respond to their environment (behavioral plasticity). It is believed that environmental variation is required for plasticity to evolve in cases where the ability to be plastic is costly. We investigate one form of environmental variation: frequency dependent selection. Using tools in game theory, we investigate a few models of plasticity and outline the cases where selection would (...)
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  26. 10. The Facts of the Matter: A Discussion of Norton's Material Theory of Induction The Facts of the Matter: A Discussion of Norton's Material Theory of Induction (Pp. 188-197). [REVIEW]Marc Ereshefsky, Mohan Matthen, Matthew H. Slater, Alex Rosenberg, D. M. Kaplan, Kevin Js Zollman, Peter Vanderschraaf, J. McKenzie Alexander, Andreas Hüttemann & Gordon Belot - 2005 - Philosophy of Science 72 (1).
  27.  73
    Introduction.Brad Armendt & Kevin Zollman - 2010 - Philosophical Studies 147 (1):1-5.
    Introduction to 'Skyrmsfest: Papers in Honor of Brian Skyrms' issue of Philosophical Studies, January 2010. Remarks about Brian Skyrms and about the 10 papers in the issue.
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  28.  15
    Review of Eckhart Arnold, Explaining Altruism: A Simulation-Based Approach and its Limits[REVIEW]Kevin J. S. Zollman - 2009 - Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews 2009 (3).
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  29. 10. Philosophy of Chemistry.Cristina Bicchieri, Jason McKenzie Alexander, Kevin T. Kelly, Kevin Js Zollman, Malcolm R. Forster, Predrag Šustar, Patrick Forber, Kenneth Reisman, Jay Odenbaugh & Yoichi Ishida - 2007 - Philosophy of Science 74 (5).
  30.  31
    Introduction, SI of Synthese “The Collective Dimension of Science”.Cyrille Imbert, Ryan Muldoon, Jan Sprenger & Kevin Zollman - 2014 - Synthese 191 (1):1-2.
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  31.  14
    An Evolutionary Comparison of the Handicap Principle and Hybrid Equilibrium Theories of Signaling.Patrick Kane & Kevin J. S. Zollman - unknown
    The handicap principle has come under significant challenge both from empirical studies and from theoretical work. As a result, a number of alternative explanations for honest signaling have been proposed. This paper compares the evolutionary plausibility of one such alternative, the "hybrid equilibrium," to the handicap principle. We utilize computer simulations to compare these two theories as they are instantiated in Maynard Smith's Sir Philip Sidney game. We conclude that, when both types of communication are possible, evolution is unlikely to (...)
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  32.  3
    The Limits of ESS Methodology.Simon M. Huttegger & Kevin J. S. Zollman - unknown
    In this paper we show that there are certain limits as to what applications of Maynard Smith’s concept of evolutionarily stable strategy can tell us about evolutionary processes. We shall argue that ESS is very similar in spirit to a particular branch of rational choice game theory, namely, the literature on refinements of Nash equilibrium. In the first place, ESS can also be viewed as a Nash equilibrium refinement. At a deeper level, ESS shares a common structure with other rational (...)
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