Philosophical Ideas on the Simulation of Social Behaviour

TitlePhilosophical Ideas on the Simulation of Social Behaviour
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2002
AuthorsGershenson, C
JournalJournal of Artificial Societies and Social Simulation

In this study we consider some of the philosophical issues that should be taken into account when simulating social behaviour. Even though the ideas presented here are philosophical, they should be of interest more to researchers simulating social behaviour than to philosophers, since we try to note some problems that researchers might not put much attention to. We give notions of what could be considered a social behaviour, and mention the problems that arise if we attempt to give a sharp definition of social behaviour in a broad context. We also briefly give useful concepts and ideas of complex systems and abstraction levels (Gershenson, 2002a), since any society can be seen as a complex system. We discuss the problems that arise while modelling social behaviour, mentioning the synthetic method as a useful approach for contrasting social theories, because of the complexities of the phenomena they model. In addition, we note the importance of the study of social behaviour for the understanding of cognition. We hope that the ideas presented here motivate the interest and debate of researchers simulating social behaviour in order to pay attention to the problems mentioned in this work, and attempt to provide more suitable solutions to them than the ones proposed here.