Generativity and emergence

Social entities and structures have properties that exercise causal influence over all of us, and over the continuing development of the society in which we live. Schools, corporations, armies, terror networks, transport networks, markets, churches, and cities all fall in this range -- they are social compounds or entities that shape the behavior of the …

System effects

Quite a few posts here have focused on the question of emergence in social ontology, the idea that there are causal processes and powers at work at the level of social entities that do not correspond to similar properties at the individual level. Here I want to raise a related question, the notion that an …

Social generativity and complexity

The idea of generativity in the realm of the social world expresses the notion that social phenomena are generated by the actions and thoughts of the individuals who constitute them, and nothing else (link, link). More specifically, the principle of generativity postulates that the properties and dynamic characteristics of social entities like structures, ideologies, knowledge systems, …

Generativism

There is a seductive appeal to the idea of a "generative social science". Joshua Epstein is one of the main proponents of the idea, most especially in his book, Generative Social Science: Studies in Agent-Based Computational Modeling. The central tool of generative social science is the construction of an agent-based model (link). The ABM is said …

Phase transitions and emergence

Image: Phase diagram of water, Solé. Phase Transitions, 4   I've proposed to understand the concepts of emergence and generativeness as being symmetrical (link). Generative higher-level properties are those that those that can be calculated or inferred based on information about the properties and states of the micro-components. Emergent properties are properties of an ensemble that …

Non-generative social facts

  Is every social process generated by facts about individuals? For example, consider a television advertising campaign for a General Motors truck. This is a complicated sequence of events, actions, contracts, relationships, and interactions among organizational units as well as individuals. The campaign itself is constituted by the schedule of television spots on which the adverts …

Are emergence and microfoundations contraries?

image: micro-structure of a nanomaterial (link) Are there strong logical relationships among the ideas of emergence, microfoundations, generative dependency, and supervenience? It appears that there are.     The diagram represents the social world as a laminated set of layers of entities, processes, powers, and laws. Entities at L2 are composed of or caused by …

Quantum mental processes?

One of the pleasant aspects of a long career in philosophy is the occasional experience of a genuinely novel approach to familiar problems. Sometimes one's reaction is skeptical at first -- "that's a crazy idea!". And sometimes the approach turns out to have genuine promise. I've had that experience of moving from profound doubt to …

Emergentism and generationism

media: lecture by Stanford Professor Robert Sapolsky on chaos and reduction   Several recent posts have focused on the topic of simulations in the social sciences. An interesting question here is whether these simulation models shed light on the questions of emergence and reduction that frequently arise in the philosophy of the social sciences. In …

The social world

image: Tuileries, Henri Cartier-Bresson, Toledo Museum of Art exibition It seems self evident, barely worth remarking, that social outcomes are the result of the actions of numbers of ordinary human beings, doing things for their own particular reasons -- finding solutions to the challenges of life that confront them, taking care of themselves and their …

%d bloggers like this: