Generative Explanation and Individualism in Agent-Based Simulation

Philosophy of the Social Sciences 43 (3):323-340 (2013)

Abstract

Social scientists associate agent-based simulation (ABS) models with three ideas about explanation: they provide generative explanations, they are models of mechanisms, and they implement methodological individualism. In light of a philosophical account of explanation, we show that these ideas are not necessarily related and offer an account of the explanatory import of ABS models. We also argue that their bottom-up research strategy should be distinguished from methodological individualism

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