Social Mechanisms and Computational Sociology

The concept of mechanism has been traditionally used in computational sociology in an informal manner. The revival of the mechanist perspective in philosophy of science, however, has led to an increased interest in clarifying its definition and functioning. Yet, despite its importance, the researchers interested in this epistemological issue have actually relied on particular definitions of mechanisms coming from theoretical sociology, instead of trying to come up with one on their own. A complication arises at this point, as several definitions of mechanism have been proposed in philosophy of science, some of them not really compatible with the core ideas of simulation as a method. The presentation will address these difficulties and the challenges a concept of mechanisms has to meet in order to be useful for computational sociology.

Friday, 11 November, 2011 - 12:30 to 14:00
David Anzola