Carnegie Mellon University

Kevin Zollman

Kevin Zollman

Professor, Philosophy

  • Baker Hall 135D
  • 412-268-8493
5000 Forbes Avenue
Pittsburgh, PA 15213


Zollman's research focuses on the use of mathematical models of human and animal social interaction. He has developed models to help understand the evolution of some of the most basic ethical norms like cooperation and fairness. Some of these norms (e.g. cooperation) are found at many levels of biological organization ranging from humans to bacteria. Zollman's models hope to offer a unified account of the evolution of these behaviors in these very different biological systems. Other ethical norms (e.g. fairness) are found only in primates -- maybe only in humans. Nonetheless, Zollman believes that similar models can be used to understand their emergence in these animals.

In addition to his work on social norms, Zollman has conducted more policy oriented work. His work on "epistemic communities" shows how communities might be better designed so as to improve their ability to develop a consensus or to accurately learn about the world. Science has been the guiding social system, although many of these models can be applied to other groups as well.