Re: Unorthodox roles of formal models

Ron Resnick (
Wed, 03 Sep 1997 00:42:40 +0300

At 12:45 PM 9/2/97 -0700, Ernest N. Prabhakar wrote:
>This is very Dilbert, but is actually from a dry business article I
>was studyingL "Game theory and the evolution of strategic thinking.",
>by A.E. Singer. Since we have so many model-builders here, I thought
>it would be a good reality to check for us to realize how models are
>actually used. He doesn't claim this is a complete list, but it is
>pretty funny/impressive. That this is not meant to be critical,
>merely descriptive, merely heightens the mockery.
>Note how the last sentence makes it sounds like they are finally
>rediscovering Kuhnian thought. Sheesh, businesspeople. I am *so*
>glad I'm not going to B-school.

Hmm. Yes, there seems to be a resurgance of sorts in Khunian notions
lately. Must be all those 'paradigm changes' everyone is running on about.
There was a recent discussion about Peter Wegner over on that other list;
Wegner being a very eccentric (to put it mildly) guy, who believes all our
troubles are Alan Turing's fault, and if only we'd follow him in a scientific
revolution (a la Kuhn) away from Turing "algorithms" and towards Wegner
"interactions" we'll all be saved.
Try for more on weirdo-Wegie

Anyway, Wegner aside, we are clearly in 'revolution' mode. Everything these
days is a major 'paradigm shift'. People who've never heard of Kuhn use
the buzzspeak - and why not? It's catchy, and it's relatively accurate.

I first got interested in the whole 'philosophy of science' thing as a 1st
undergrad (what you guys call a freshman, right?). I took it as an arts
elective. Turned out to be one of the most influential courses I ever took.
The text for the book was a paperback by Alan Chalmers called
"What is this thing called Science?"

I checked now in Amazon; the original version I used as a text back then
is the out of print cottage-published 1977 version. It became popular
enough, apparently, that it's now been republished in a 2nd ed, 1995:

--and Adam, I'll stick on the 'ForkrecommendedA' gunk when *you* put
a link to the reading list from the FAQ, or some place where I can find
the silly thing. Deal? --

It's a good, gentle, intro book. Chalmers covers Karl Popper falsification,
Kuhn Scientific Revolutions, and the mid-way Imre Lakatos, always the
bridge-builder, arguing that progress is somehow both evolutionary
and revolutionary. Methinks Lakatos may have been on the right track....
The golden mean.....

Fun stuff.