Agent-based simulations in philosophy Ruhr-Universität Bochum
In recent years digital aspects have entered philosophy, both in terms of providing a plethora of new topics and by providing new perspectives on old questions. Moreover, the digital age also equips philosophy with new computational methods for tackling philosophical questions, such as computer simulations. This course is dedicated to this topic.Computer simulations in the form of agent-based models (ABMs) have in recent years become a popular method in philosophy, particularly in social epistemology, philosophy of science and political philosophy. In this course we discuss some of the central philosophical questions studied by means of ABMs. For instance, can groups of rational agent polarize, if yes, under which conditions? Can groups composed of agents that reason individually fully rationally (e.g., according to Bayesian standards) still be inefficient as a group? If yes, how so? Other topics concern questions from social epistemology and philosophy of science, such as the division of cognitive labor, cognitive diversity and expertise, opinion dynamics, etc.The course will cover some of the most prominent modeling frameworks used in the philosophical literature and beyond.Moreover, we will critically discuss the epistemic status of such models. For instance, given their often highly idealized nature, one may critically ask whether these models provide any, and if so, which kind of insights and explanations.
presentation and essay
Online Course Requirement
Prof. Dr. Christian Straßer/Prof. Dr. Dunja Seselja
Programme: M.A. Philosophy, Theoretical Philosophy
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