Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 33, No. 317. Department of Digital Humanities, King's College London Hosted by King's Digital Lab www.dhhumanist.org Submit to: firstname.lastname@example.org Date: 2019-10-14 07:47:59+00:00 From: Willard McCarty
Subject: being heuristical Forgive me for yielding to the overpowering temptation to jump in with a suggestion following my own question. In "Fast and frugal heuristics: The tools of bounded rationality" (in Blackwell Handbook of Judgment and Decision Making, ed. Koehler and Harvey), psychologist Gerd Gigerenzer cites Einstein's use of the originally Greek term 'heuristic' to mean an idea that is incomplete, due to the limits of our knowledge, but useful. Gigerenzer goes on to comment that, > The advent of computer programming gave heuristics a new prominence. > It became clear that most problems of any importance are > computationally intractable, that is, we do not know the optimal > solution, nor a method for how to find it. This holds even for > well-defined problems such as chess, the classic computer game > Tetris, and the traveling salesman problem.... The same uncertainty > holds for less well-structured problems, such as which job offer to > accept, what stocks to invest in, and whom to marry. When optimal > solutions are out of reach, we are not paralyzed to inaction or > doomed to failure. We can use heuristics to discover good solutions. > (pp. 62-3) The phrase "incomplete... but useful" is what struck a chord, for modelling (which is what we do) is by definition exactly that, at least when done well. This is too broad a scope to demarcate a field, of course, but add to this a limitation as one of the "sciences of the artificial" (Herbert Simon's phrase, like "bounded rationality"), might we have something to go on? Yours, WM -- Willard McCarty (www.mccarty.org.uk/), Professor emeritus, Department of Digital Humanities, King's College London; Editor, Interdisciplinary Science Reviews (www.tandfonline.com/loi/yisr20) and Humanist (www.dhhumanist.org) _______________________________________________ Unsubscribe at: http://dhhumanist.org/Restricted List posts to: email@example.com List info and archives at at: http://dhhumanist.org Listmember interface at: http://dhhumanist.org/Restricted/ Subscribe at: http://dhhumanist.org/membership_form.php
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