030061 Agent-Based Simulations in Philosophy (Seselja, Straßer)

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In recent years digital aspects have entered philosophy, both in terms of providing a plethora of new topics and by providing new perspectives on old questions. Moreover, the digital age also equips philosophy with new computational methods for tackling philosophical questions, such as computer simulations. This course is dedicated to this topic. Computer simulations in the form of agent-based models (ABMs) have in recent years become a popular method in philosophy, particularly in social epistemology, philosophy of science and political philosophy. In this course we discuss some of the central philosophical questions studied by means of ABMs. For instance, can groups of rational agent polarize, if yes, under which conditions? Can groups composed of agents that reason individually fully rationally (e.g., according to Bayesian standards) still be inefficient as a group? If yes, how so? Other topics concern questions from social epistemology and philosophy of science, such as the division of cognitive labor, cognitive diversity and expertise, opinion dynamics, etc. This course will consist of three parts: 1. In October and November we will cover some of the most prominent modeling frameworks used in the philosophical literature and beyond. The readings will be aimed at preparing students for talks by experts on the topic, which constitute part 2. 2. On the 7-8th of December, 2023 we will have a (full day) workshop in which experts working in this field will come to RUB and present their work. No further classes will take place in December. Instead, students will choose a topic related to one of the talks in the workshop and start their project on it. The topics for student projects will be agreed upon in (individual) online meetings. The project should result in a presentation and an essay. | | | The reading list will be provided during the course.