Science and Rationality for One and All

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Abstract
It seems obvious that a community of one thousand scientists working together to make discoveries and solve puzzles should arrange itself differently than would one thousand scientist-hermits working independently. Because of limited time, resources, and attention, an independent scientist can explore only some of the possible approaches to a problem. Working alone, each hermit would explore the most promising approaches. They would needlessly duplicate the work of others and would be unlikely to develop approaches which look unpromising but really have tremendous potential. Contrariwise, a large community can more rigorously explore the space of possible approaches. Most scientists should work on the most promising approaches, but a smaller number can be committed to approaches that initially look less promising. Exploratory work can reveal if one of those initially unpromising approaches has unrealized potential, and more scientists can adopt it once its potential becomes more apparent
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Archival date: 2019-02-21
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