, Volume 84, Issue 1, pp 101–119 | Cite as

Dynamics and Diversity in Epistemic Communities

  • Cailin O’ConnorEmail author
  • Justin Bruner


Bruner (Synthese, 2017, shows that in cultural interactions, members of minority groups will learn to interact with members of majority groups more quickly—minorities tend to meet majorities more often as a brute fact of their respective numbers—and, as a result, may come to be disadvantaged in situations where they divide resources. In this paper, we discuss the implications of this effect for epistemic communities. We use evolutionary game theoretic methods to show that minority groups can end up disadvantaged in academic interactions like bargaining and collaboration as a result of this effect. These outcomes are more likely, in our models, the smaller the minority group. They occur despite assumptions that majority and minority groups do not differ with respect to skill level, personality, preference, or competence of any sort. Furthermore, as we will argue, these disadvantaged outcomes for minority groups may negatively impact the progress of epistemic communities.



The authors would like to thank Shahar Avin, Jeffrey Barrett, Liam K. Bright, Adrian Currie, Manuela Fernandes, Remco Heesen, Simon Huttegger, Huw Price, Eric Schliesser, Brian Skyrms, Kyle Stanford, and James Weatherall for comments and feedback on this work. This work was funded by NSF Standard Research Grant 1535139: Social Dynamics and Diversity in Epistemic Communities.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Logic and Philosophy of ScienceUC IrvineIrvineUSA
  2. 2.School of Politics and International RelationsAustralia National UniversityCanberraAustralia

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