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Modeling For Reasoning Socio-Economic Behaviors

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Abstract:

'Economics without psychological and sociological research to determine the givens of the decision-making situation, the focus of attention, the problem representation, and the processes used to identify alternatives, estimate consequences, and choose among possibilities--such economics is a one-bladed scissors.' wrote H. A. Simon in 1986. Economics seen as a one-bladed scissors? Is not it still the case of an economic science, which considered the economic behavior as being determined by a theory of rational choice inherited from energetic physics rather than from cognitive psychology? Its language and its ways of interpretation remain too often those of energetic, the principle of the maximization of marginal utility stepping into the place of the principle of least action. The discussion that began in 1955 with H. A. Simon on multiple and complex forms of rationality brings along an internal epistemological critique that contributes to the re-emergence of already forgotten economic paradigm (the 'pragmatic turn'): a discussion that underlines the role of the problem representation processes: 'Modeling is a principal--perhaps the primary-- tool for studying the behavior of large complex systems,' (Simon, 1990) and particularly the behavior of complex socio-economic phenomena. Modeling socio economics systems, that is designing models made of 'symbol systems, means for general intelligent action by heuristic search' (Newell & Simon, 1976). Models of 'economic behavior, family behavior, political behavior, and organizational behavior, all forms of human behavior and of their interactions' (Simon, 1982b), are not often given by some natural sciences, physics or biology. They have also to be purposefully designed: Modeling designs that may use computable symbols, words or pictures or numbers. And we know now that ''Modeling' is neither more nor less logical than 'Reasoning'.' (Simon & Kaplan, 1990). 'The question is a pragmatic one that has to be asked and re-asked as the sciences of man develop, and as our understanding of their interrelationship deepens.' (Simon, 1982b, p. 343) Is not the 'Pragmatic Turn of Economic Science,' the turn towards a new focus on the procedural modeling processes, searching in the maze of the socio-economics problems space? Key-words: Complex-Systems-Modeling, Pragmatic, Procedural rationality, Teleology, Theory of rational choice.

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2006-01-01

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