Generativity, Complexity, and Emergence
NASP International and Interdisciplinary Seminars
7 June 2018, h. 15.00
Speaker: Daniel Little (University of Michigan)
Chair: Antonio M. Chiesi (University of Milan)
Discussant: Flaminio Squazzoni (university of Brescia)
Via Pace 10, Milan
The lecture focuses on several different ideas about the relationship between actors and higher-level social entities and outcomes. Generativity is the idea that social entities are “generated” out of the interactions of socially situated actors. Complexity is the idea that social causation is multi-factoral, non-linear, and path-dependent, with the result that aggregate outcomes are difficult or impossible to predict. Emergence is the idea that social entities have properties that are different from, and perhaps non-derivable from, the properties of individuals. The lecture explores the logic of these different ideas of social dynamics; it considers the methodology of several approaches to social simulation; and it argues for a version of methodological pluralism as the best way of guiding research and explanation in the social sciences.