The meta-wisdom of crowds

Justin Sytsma, Ryan Muldoon, Shaun Nichols

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


It is well-known that people will adjust their first-order beliefs based on observations of others. We explore how such adjustments interact with second-order beliefs regarding universalism and relativism in a population. Across a range of simulations, we show that populations where individuals have a tendency toward universalism converge more quickly in coordination problems, and generate higher total payoffs, than do populations where individuals have a tendency toward relativism. Thus, in contexts where coordination is important, belief in universalism is advantageous. However, we also show, across a range of simulations, that universalism will enshrine inequalities and eliminate diversity, and in these cases it seems that relativism has its own advantages.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)11051-11074
Number of pages24
Issue number3-4
StatePublished - Dec 2021


  • Cooperation
  • Diversity
  • Metaethics
  • Relativism
  • Universalism

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Philosophy
  • General Social Sciences


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