Tools or Toys?
On Specific Challenges for Modeling and the Epistemology of Models in the Social Sciences
6 Common obstacles for modeling in the social sciences
A possible explanation why it is so difficult to grasp the research
logic behind social simulations is that the models and simulations
do themselves face much stronger obstacles in the social sciences than
in most of the natural sciences. If it proves hard to justify models
and simulations in the social sciences then the simple reason may be
that very often there is no justification for using these models. In
the following a number of common obstacles for modeling in the social
sciences will be examined and the possible epistemological consequences
for modeling will be discussed.
It is not claimed that these obstacles are exclusive for the social
sciences. Some of them may to a lesser or greater degree also plague
some simulations in the natural sciences as well. In this case presumably
also the epistemological consequences will be the same. If one is aware
of these obstacles it becomes easier to understand the specific epistemological
conditions of models and simulations in the social sciences.