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Distributed cognition: a perspective from social choice theory

List, Christian (2008) Distributed cognition: a perspective from social choice theory. In: Albert, Max, Schmidtchen, Dieter and Voigt, Stefan, (eds.) Scientific Competition: Theory and Policy. Conferences on New Political Economy(25). Mohr Siebeck, Tübingen, Germany, pp. 285-308. ISBN 9783161494130

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Distributed cognition refers to processes which are (i) cognitive and (ii) distributed across multiple agents or devices rather than performed by a single agent. Distributed cognition has attracted interest in several fields ranging from sociology and law to computer science and the philosophy of science. In this paper, I discuss distributed cognition from a social-choice-theoretic perspective. Drawing on models of judgment aggregation, I address two questions. First, how can we model a group of individuals as a distributed cognitive system? Second, can a group acting as a distributed cognitive system be ‘rational’ and ‘track the truth’ in the outputs it produces? I argue that a group’s performance as a distributed cognitive system depends on its ‘aggregation procedure’ – its mechanism for aggregating the group members’ inputs into collective outputs – and I investigate the properties of an aggregation procedure that matter.

Item Type: Book Section
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Additional Information: © 2008 Christian List
Library of Congress subject classification: J Political Science > JA Political science (General)
B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
Sets: Departments > Government
Departments > Philosophy, Logic and Scientific Method
Research centres and groups > Centre for Philosophy of Natural and Social Science (CPNSS)
Date Deposited: 17 Jul 2008 14:16

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