SOCIAL SYSTEMS SIMULATION GROUP
Axiomatic structure of postmodern logical stochasticism in Social Science
Today we have survived the post modern era of social scientific thought with all its negative connotations. The utilitarian logical stochasticism is of a probabilistic nature and is less extreme than logical positivism. In summary, "a probabilistic theory is no theory at all without empirical observation."
1. There is a social reality in aggregate social behavior that is separate from the individual.
2. This social reality is very "thick." (Borrowed from anthropological "thick description").
3. Social reality is assumed to be probabilistic, not deterministic, in nature.
Postmodern logical stochasticism
4. Social reality can be empirically observed using the "six" senses: sight, hearing, touch, smell, taste and "self reporting" (surveys/ interviews).
5. Models (Theory) can be constructed theorizing about social reality.
6. Models refer to real observable features of social reality.
7. Models can have any degree of sophistication (thickness) based upon the amount of information observed about social reality.
8. The amount of information observed about social reality is directly related to the sensitivity of the observational instrument used.
9. The information in a model need not be homogeneous; it can be "lumpy."
10. Models of social reality are probabilistic (stochastic).
11. Competing Models of similar description of social reality tend to converge.
12. Empirical observations of social reality are recognized to be biased by language and culture; care must be excersized in interpretation.
13. These models are never the last word; there is always more to be discovered.
14. Time is not an independent variable. The passage of time does not cause social processes to occur.
15. Social processes take more or less time depending on the nature and circumstance of the process itself.
16. Time is a "metric" that measures a characteristic of social reality; e.g., the length of time (no matter how measured) that has passed between two related social events.
17. The transition from one social event to another is, however, a function of the transition probability; not time.
18. The transition probability is a function of the most salient Social Scientific variables that have an impact on the process beeing studied. (History, economics, geography, sociology, etc.)
Models and Consensus
19. Models are accepted as valid when, through a social process, individuals come to a consensus regarding the current utility of the model to predict and control social processes.
Structure - Flow - Change
20. Selected features of the General Systems Metaphor are appropriate for modeling processes operating within Social Systems. (Social Processes "are like" Systems).
21. The open Social System can usually be identified and isolated by identifying its elements and the relationships among them. (Boundary statement:The family, the gang, the organization, etc. Statistical groups: youths between the age of 15 and 21, women impeded by the glass ceiling, elders in an institutional setting, etc.)
22. Flow is the direction of change either evolutionary or devolutionary. (Greater or lesser complexity, division of labor, or differentiation of hierarchy)
Social Systems Simulation Group
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