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Foundations of Science

, Volume 21, Issue 1, pp 195–206 | Cite as

Belief Systems and the Modeling Relation

  • Roberto Poli
Article

Abstract

The paper presents the most general aspects of scientific modeling and shows that social systems naturally include different belief systems (i.e. different models). Belief systems differ in a variety of respects, most notably in the selection of suitable qualities to encode and the internal structure of the observables. The following results emerge from the analysis: (1) conflict is explained by showing that different models encode different qualities, which implies that they model different realities; (2) explicitly connecting models to the realities that they encode makes it possible to clarify the relations among models; (3) by understanding that social systems are complex one knows that there is no chance of developing a maximal model of the system; (4) the distinction among different levels of depth implicitly includes a strategy for inducing change; (5) identity-preserving models are among the most difficult to modify; (6) since models do not customarily generate internal signals of error, strategies with which to determine when models are out of synch with their situations are especially valuable; (7) changing the form of power from a zero sum game to a positive sum game helps transform the nature of conflicts.

Keywords

Modeling relation Observable Adequate models  Complexity Levels of depth Conflict Robert Rosen  Georges Gurvitch 

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Sociology and Social ResearchUniversity of TrentoTrentoItaly

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