An important feature of agent-based modelling is that individuals within the computational model are represented using the techniques of artificial intelligence studies and therefore can possess limited but significant (pseudo-)cognitive abilities. It is widely accepted that ABM has the potential to inform policy decision making. In this talk, however, I shall examine whether ABM can further illumine the relationship between the adoption by individuals of particular standards and styles of life, and the social formations and processes that may arise in consequence of significant numbers of individuals so doing. I shall refer particularly to the potential social impact of the teachings of Confucius as recorded in the Analects, and those of Jesus of Nazareth as recorded in the (canonical and non- canonical) Gospels. An important factor is the impact of the pre-existent social context in which teachings are promulgated. Key technical issues are the amount of detail that can and must be incorporated in such a simulation model for it to be informative, in particular the degree of complexity associated with modelling of individuals, and the
strategy for validation of the model as a whole – that is, what might convince us that such a model was providing trustworthy insights. Melvin W Barber, Ph.D. Flagler College Building Science and Sociology through the Description of Mechanisms Found in the Natural World This paper addresses the respective roles of theory, models, and experiment in the cumulative development of scientific research. It outlines the chief characteristics of basic theory (the description of mechanisms) and how such theories are applied in scientific and sociological research. The basic theory of society (a description of the primary mechanism of sociology) is used in the development of theoretical models explaining social phenomena and in the design of experiments in sociology; the basic theories of society utilizing dynamic theory. Throughout the discussion, evolutionary theory is utilized as a method of integrating succeeding theories of society. The paper concludes that the application of basic theories must make predictions that can be examined by experimental research. Theme: Classical & contemporary theory: working with our inheritance Panel 5 Prof. Dr. Hans-Peter Muller Lehrstuhl fur Allgemeine Soziologie Institut fur Sozialwissenschaften Humboldt-Universitat zu Berlin Studying Styles of Life. Form and Conduct of Life in the classical theories of Georg Simmel and Max Weber This paper reconstructs Simmel’s and Weber’s study of life-styles in order to answer the following questions: 1. How do the two German classics relate social and individual life? 2. What are the theoretical traits of their approaches? 3. Which methods do they apply in order to arrive at their analysis of the style of life? 4. What can be learned from these approaches for studying the life-styles of today?