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Title: Formal theory development by computational simulation modeling: a tale of two philosophical approaches
Authors: Chanda, Sasanka Sekhar
Ray, Sougata
Keywords: Assessment of manuscripts
Computational simulation
Critical realism
Formal theory
Scientific realism
Issue Date: Sep-2015
Publisher: Indian Institutte of Management Calcutta, Kolkata
Series/Report no.: Vol.42;No.3
Abstract: Computational simulation modeling is an important approach to formal theory development. It has all the advantages of mathematical models, and is additionally able to overcome problems related to discontinuities and disequilibrium conditions that mathematical models do not handle well. In social science research, a good deal of emphasis is placed on leveraging pioneering models, to further knowledge smoothly. However, two important philosophical paradigms, that of critical realism and scientific realism, sharply differ in terms of what is considered worth preserving and what is considered up for change, in work that follows that of the pioneer. Scientific Realists value knowledge accumulation. Models contradicting key assumptions of a pioneering model may not readily find favor with Scientific Realists. Critical Realists focus on generating new theory by the quickest possible means, particularly in areas where there is a paucity of theory. They favor leveraging the ontological aspects of pioneering models, while being open to contradicting its key assumptions. Thus, notwithstanding the surface similarity of both traditions promoting research by computational simulation modeling, knowledge advancement accomplished is of very different kinds, each with its own distinctive set of implications.
Description: Sasanka Sekhar Chanda, Indian Institute of Management Indore, Indore, India; Sougata Ray, Indian Institute of Management Calcutta, Calcutta, India
ISSN: 0304-0941 (print version) ; 2197-1722 (electronic version)
Appears in Collections:Issue 3, September 2015

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