Topological variability of collectives and its import for social epistemology

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Social epistemology studies knowledge and justified belief acquisition through organized group cooperation. To do this, the way such group cooperation is structured has to be modeled. The obvious way of modeling a group structure is with a directed graph; unfortunately, most types of social cooperation directed at epistemological aims are variably implementable, including in their structural expression. Furthermore, the frequency with which a practice is implemented in a certain way can vary with topology. This entails that the topology of social practices directed toward epistemological ends has to be modeled by a set of directed graphs, or their equivalent, together with a probability distribution over that set. In theory, this is eminently possible; however, there are considerable practical obstacles to the specification of a practice's topology in this way. This paper examines these practical difficulties and concludes that todays sampling protocols are either far too slow to handle pratices with 10 or more participants, or else prone to produce misleading evaluations.


Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Philosophy


  • Social networks, Social epistemology, Directed graph, Graph isomorphism
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2433-2443
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - 2014
Publication categoryResearch