Judgement Aggregation and Distributed Thinking

AI and Society 25, 401-412, 2010. Reprinted in: Stephen J. Cowley & Frederic Vallee-Tourangeau, eds., 'Cognition beyond the Brain,' London: Springer. Preprint PDF.

In recent years, judgement aggregation has emerged as an important area of social choice theory. Judgement aggregation is concerned with aggregating sets of individual judgements over logically connected propositions into a set of collective judgements. It has been shown that even seemingly weak conditions on the aggregation function make it impossible to find functions that produce rational collective judgements from all possible rational individual judgements. This implies that the step from individual judgements to collective judgements requires trade-offs between different desiderata, such as universal domain, rationality, epistemological quality, and unbiasedness. The typical application for judgement aggregation is the problem of group decision making. Juries and expert committees are the stock examples. However, the relevance of judgement aggregation goes beyond these cases. In this survey, I review some core results in the field of judgement aggregation and social epistemology and discuss their implications for the analysis of distributed thinking