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Diversity, Not Randomness, Trumps Ability

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  01 January 2022


A number of formal models, including a highly influential model from Hong and Page, purport to show that functionally diverse groups often beat groups of individually high-performing agents in solving problems. Thompson argues that in Hong and Page’s model, that the diverse groups are created by a random process explains their success, not the diversity. Here, I defend the diversity interpretation of the Hong and Page result. The failure of Thompson’s argument shows that to understand the value of functional diversity, we should be clearer about how we conceive of and measure that diversity.

Copyright © The Philosophy of Science Association

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I am very thankful to Scott E. Page, William (Zev) Berger, Meredith Tamminga, and two anonymous reviewers for comments on an earlier draft of this article.


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