From: Paul Cockshott (wpc@DCS.GLA.AC.UK)
Date: Thu Sep 15 2005 - 04:52:18 EDT
Iain ------ But straightaway there's a simple answer to objections such as: He says: Any theoretical explanations and predictions of social processes require taking into account intelligent behaviour of the actors involved. (iii) Hence, computer simulation of social processes requires an algorithm to simulate intelligent behaviour of the actors involved. Replace "social processes" with "physical processes" and "intelligent behaviour of the actors involved" with "quantum mechanics", and re-read the paragraph. It would then be an argument for denying classical mechanics. Yet we know that classical mechanics is a very successful predictive theory (upto very small and very large scales) and talks about real entities, such as forces, momentum etc. Computer simulations of physical processes (e.g., for industrial design, computer games etc.) employ classical mechanics. There's no need to simulate the quantum level upon which the classical ontology is ultimately implemented because this is an unnecessary level of detail for most purposes. --------------------------- Paul I think one can also attack his thesis from the other side - that of statistical mechanics. One does not need to simulate gases down to the particle level to make useful bulk predictions in the way that thermodynamics does. That obtains the Gibb's Boltzman energy distribution without one having to simulate every particular configuration of a gas. Similarly you obtain the same sort of distributions for cash holdings making some very simple assumptions about the social structure of capitalist relations.
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