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Distributed cognition: a perspective from social choice theory

By Christian List


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

Topics: JA Political science (General), BF Psychology
Publisher: Mohr Siebeck
Year: 2008
OAI identifier: oai:eprints.lse.ac.uk:19606
Provided by: LSE Research Online
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