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Social deliberation: Nash, Bayes, and the partial vindication of Gabriele Tarde

Alexander, J. McKenzie (2009) Social deliberation: Nash, Bayes, and the partial vindication of Gabriele Tarde. Episteme, 6 (2). pp. 164-184. ISSN 1742-3600

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Identification Number: 10.3366/E1742360009000628


At the very end of the 19th century, Gabriele Tarde wrote that all society was a product of imitation and innovation. This view regarding the development of society has, to a large extent, fallen out of favour, and especially so in those areas where the rational actor model looms large. I argue that this is unfortunate, as models of imitative learning, in some cases, agree better with what people actually do than more sophisticated models of learning. In this paper, I contrast the behaviour of imitative learning with two more sophisticated learning rules (one based on Bayesian updating, the other based on the Nash-Brown-von Neumann dynamics) in the context of social deliberation problems. I show for two social deliberation problems, the Centipede game and a simple Lewis sender-receiver game, that imitative learning provides better agreement with what people actually do, thus partially vindicating Tarde.

Item Type: Article
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Additional Information: © 2009 Edinburgh University Press
Divisions: Philosophy, Logic and Scientific Method
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > B Philosophy (General)
Date Deposited: 09 Feb 2010 15:20
Last Modified: 16 May 2024 00:53

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