Bad Arguments in the Comparison of Game Theory and Simulation in Social Studies
The aim of this note is to clarify and to correct some arguments which are used in the debate about the comparison of discrete social simulation with other methodologies used in the study of social phenomena, notably those of game theory. Though part of what will be said also applies to non-discrete simulation, the arguments are investigated only as far as the discrete case is concerned. The main claims against each of both scientific approaches are considered in particular, i.e. "impossibility" of game theory and "unsoundness" of simulation studies. Regarding the latter, arguments are presented that items occurring in simulation studies correspond to the formal constituents of a scientific theory, and thus a comparison of both approaches on the same level is justified. The question whether a superiority of one of the two approaches can be stated is illuminated in the light of four dimensions: empirical adequacy, theoretical fruitfulness, social relevance, and simplicity. This leads to the conclusion that both claims are unjustified and should be avoided in the debate about the role and merits of social simulation.
Volume (Year): 4 (2001)
Issue (Month): 2 ()
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