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Analyse & Kritik

Journal of Philosophy and Social Theory

Ed. by Baurmann, Michael / Leist, Anton / Tranow, Ulf

Online
ISSN
2365-9858
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Volume 34, Issue 2

Issues

Applying Formal Social Epistemology to the Real World

Carlo Martini
Published Online: 2016-02-11 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/auk-2012-0214

Abstract

The claim that diversity and independence have a net positive epistemic effect on the judgments of groups has been recently defended formally by Scott Page, among others, and popularized in Surowiecki's The Wisdom of Crowds. In Meta-Induction and the Wisdom of Crowds Thorn and Schurz take issue with the claim that more diversity and independence in groups leads to better collective judgments. I argue that Thorn and Schurz's arguments are helpful in clarifying a number of over-generalizations about diversity and independence that are often circulated in the social epistemology literature. I also argue that the relevant formal arguments are easily misunderstood when presented 'in a vacuum', that is, without a context of application in mind. I provide a different approach to understanding formal results in social epistemology: With the help of concrete scenarios and the formal literature, I focus on a trade-off between independence and dependence in groups. I show that the approach works well also for another principle in social epistemology; namely, the principle that 'more heads are better than few'.

About the article

Published Online: 2016-02-11

Published in Print: 2012-11-01


Citation Information: Analyse & Kritik, Volume 34, Issue 2, Pages 383–398, ISSN (Online) 2365-9858, ISSN (Print) 0171-5860, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/auk-2012-0214.

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© 2012 by Lucius & Lucius, Stuttgart.

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