Civil and Natural Philosophy

  • Models

We wrote earlier

“[…] There is also no definite place for ABMS as a research method when it must come to fruition in ‘such a condition.’ […] For ABMS, that would mean that it should get off the ground in a state of methodological chaos, a general state of free struggle between the other research methods dealing with political issues. And that is also the case […] ”,

and meant that as a simple picture of where ABSM currently stands as a research method (ABSM for Agent-Based Simulation Modeling, the abbreviation I will use in the future instead of the more common ABMS) .

I (Mr. Node) used a world famous quote from Thomas Hobbes. Since I had only read the underlying work as a child, it seemed opportune to look at it again. What I accepted as merely common sense as a 23-year-old became an exciting and intriguing masterpiece to the 75-year-old I am now.

The first sentence alone. I paraphrase: Man also imitates nature in such a way that he aspires to make artificial beings. Since 1651, the year this first sentence appeared human nature has not changed much in this regard, given the current activities in artificial intelligence. Also then Hobbes begins to distinguish and lay methodical foundations for the branching of the sciences into two genres that he calls natural and civil philosophy. Marcus P. Adams explains further

… There are two criteria relevant to civil philosophy that Hobbes saw as setting his apart from all other attempts. First, Hobbesian civil philosophy is a science (scientia) because human makers have the ability to know the actual causes of the objects of study since they construct them. Second, to count as philosophy and not mere superstition or sophistry, Hobbesian civil philosophy must provide demonstrations.

and summarizes in the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy:

The maker’s knowledge view of Hobbes’ civil philosophy draws insight from these two points and understands Hobbesian civil philosophy as demonstrable in the following way. Hobbes begins civil philosophy at a starting point in the “natural condition” of human bodies in Leviathan XIII, continues by considering how those bodies could be moved (by commands in the laws of nature) in ways that would be conducive of peace and, finally , are brought together to compose the commonwealth.

In other words, Hobbes already put the foundation of ABSM as a political-scientific method on paper in 1651. Perhaps that foundation has not yet become mainstream due to the longtime lack of affordable and effective tools to help create such demonstrations.