Hmmm. Going from simulation to explanation sounds like a dangerous game
to me. I should have thought that simulation is a way of exploring
different kinds of social dynamics, and then using the findings to
inform further social research.
Having said that, simulation is a great way of sidestepping
socio-political issues to test contentious hypotheses. I'm thinking
here of the simulation that modelled urban segregation and found that
simply wanting to be with others who are a bit more like you than your
immediate neighbours was enough to generate a polarised society
relatively quickly (I think - it's late and I'm tired so I may be wrong
That's the sort of finding that can be massively helpful in framing a
tactful approach to a difficult topic.
So simulation gives you a possible how. But the why of explanation?
Might still need people for that!
Hope that helps.
On 13 Nov 2003, at 00:11, Automatic digest processor wrote:
> Dear All,
> I'm searching for paper about the relation of computer simulation and
> explanation, especially sociological explanation. I think that
> sociologists need simulation necessarily if they take the dynamics of
> interaction more serious (and they should do so if they try to explain
> using social mechanisms). But I don't feel really confident about it.
> Can you help me?
> Thank you,
> Thomas Kron
Dr Nick Green
Institute of Community Studies
18 Victoria Park Square
Tel 020 8980 6263