Social Ontology and Model-Building Practices of Generative Social Science

Wednesday, 13 July 2016: 14:15
Location: Hörsaal 45 (Main Building)
Oral Presentation
Francisco LEON, Universitat de Girona, Spain
In this comunication, we seek to explore the interrelation between the philosophical debates on Social Ontology and model-building practices of the so-called generative social science. Our aim is twofold. First, we sketch how Social Ontology debates are conditioning computer simulations. For example, we show how the research agenda of computer modelers is affected by the debate on the “supervenience versus causal” nature of micro-macro relations or the debate on the basic building blocks of social reality. As we show, modelers’ conceptualization (or lack of conceptualization) of the nature of social facts and processes seriously condition the explanatory potential of the generative social science. Consequently, we advocate a more explicit and clear philosophical underpinning of simulation practices. And second, we present some examples of how simulations practically resolve some of the traditional debates of Social Ontology. In daily practices of computer modelers, a practical solution is needed for philosophical questions as: what is a social structure? how social facts emerge? how institutional facts affect individual behavior? We conclude that Sociology would make a leap thanks to a deeper philosophical grounding of computer modeling practices and a more practical orientation of philosophical debates on social ontology.