Honors College

Document Type

Honors Thesis




Justin Dimmel

Committee Members

François Amar, Dylan Dryer, Hao Hong, Michael Wittmann

Graduation Year

May 2020

Publication Date

Spring 5-2020


By combining ideas from evolutionary biology, epistemology, and philosophy of mind, this thesis attempts to derive a new kind of crowdsourcing that could better leverage people’s collective creativity. Following a theory of knowledge presented by David Deutsch, it is argued that knowledge develops through evolutionary competition that organically emerges from a creative dialogue of trial and error. It is also argued that this model of knowledge satisfies the properties of Douglas Hofstadter’s strange loops, implying that self-reflection is a core feature of knowledge evolution. This mix of theories then is used to analyze several existing strategies of crowdsourcing and knowledge development, allowing the identification of a small number of design mechanisms that combine in different ways to create each strategy’s power. Finally, a website is proposed that combines all of these mechanisms to crowdsource the selfreflective evolutionary development of mathematics education using existing web design techniques.