Complexity and social sciences.

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    • Abstract:
      Purpose -- The purpose of this paper is to give an outline of the main topics of an introductory course in complexity and social sciences. Design/methodology/approach -- This paper consists of a survey of the main issues and some of the classical literature for an audience with no background in philosophy of science, social philosophy, the literature on complex systems and social choice. Findings -- In the didactical framework of the article, it would be more accurate to speak of learning objectives rather than findings. The learning objectives are the acquisition of the basic knowledge for understanding the features, the possibilities and the limitations of scientific explanations and predictions and their applications in the long-term perspective of complex social systems. Research limitations/implications -- Again, the implications are didactic. The basic knowledge that constitutes the learning objective of the course serves to give students the instruments for recognizing the main opportunities and obstacles in social forecasting. Practical implications -- The practical implications of this paper include making students aware of complexity-related problems in their working environment and of the opportunities and constraints involved in solving them. Social implications -- Operators who are aware of the main issues involved can contribute to a more balanced approach to social forecasting: avoiding to raise unrealistic expectations and making more efficient use of the available instruments. Originality/value -- This paper summarizes an original combination of elements from the philosophy of science, epistemology, social philosophy and social choice. [ABSTRACT FROM AUTHOR]
    • Abstract:
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