Tag Archives: books

My book will be released soon — and it will be open-access

Good news, open science fans — my upcoming book from Springer is now in editing/typesetting, and on track for a spring release under a Creative Commons with Attribution licence.  This means you can download, share, adapt and modify the work however you see fit, so long as you cite the original and link to a copy of the licence.

I have to take a moment here to thank the MRC/CSO Social and Public Health Sciences Unit, my new home, for supporting open science and widening the audience of this book.

Springer is keen to get this moving along so they’ve put up a website for the book here!   You can even pre-order it, if you want.

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Some light reading recommendations

So I just handed in the final draft of my upcoming book for Springer’s Methodos Series, which is about the application of agent-based modelling techniques to the social sciences, with some specific applications to demography.

I thought I’d share two other books related to this topic that just came out recently, both of which are open-access and freely downloadable as PDF or epub ebooks:

Model-Based DemographyEssays on Integrating Data, Technique and Theory by Thomas K Burch.  Tom has been in demography a long time (six decades, in fact), and has brought together this volume based on his methodological critiques of demography in recent years.  I very much share his view that demography is far more than applied statistics, and that the field has a lot to say about the development and evolution of society and the behaviour of those within it.  If you’re interested in a detailed examination of demography as a science I can highly recommend this book.

Agent-Based Modelling in Population Studies: Concepts, Methods and Applications edited by André Grow and Jan Van Bavel.  This is a collection of papers on agent-based modelling in population studies presented at the University of Leuven in 2014 — and, full disclosure, I’m an author on one of the papers so my views here may be biased!  Having said that, I think this weighty tome (over 500 pages) offers some fascinating perspectives on the use of ABMs to study population, as well as some interesting examples of the methodology in action.  

As for my book — it should appear in early 2018, from what I understand — I’ll post here of course when Springer sets a final publication date.

 

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Book review published

The review of Daniel Courgeau’s 2012 volume Probability and Social Science my colleague Jakub Bijak and I put together has now been published!

You can find it here.  Sadly the article is behind a paywall, at least for the moment, but if you require a pre-print version please get in touch.

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Basic minds without content

I just heard about an interesting new book on the horizon from Daniel Hutto and Erik Myin called Radicalizing Enactivism: Basic Minds Without Content.  The preface is downloadable, and the authors got my attention pretty early on with this paragraph:

“This raises the worry that the whole enactive and embodied turn in cognitive science is backed by little or nothing more an unreasoned attachment to certain attractive, but ultimately empty, pictures and slogans. For this reason, Prinz (2009) is right to proclaim that – at least in one sense – enactive and embodied approaches may be easier to “sell than to prove” (p. 419).

We aim to supply the philosophical clarifications and strong support that has been sorely missing.”

The criticisms mentioned in the preface line up fairly precisely with my own, so I’m quite interested to see what they come up with to address these issues.  I can also admit to a certain morbid curiousity about how enactivism can be pushed even farther.

I do find myself wondering where the endpoint will be, however.  So far we’ve dismissed qualia, now apparently mental content of any sort is gone, so what’s next?  Will we slide all the way back to behaviourism, then Chomsky will write another devastating critique of it like back in 1967, and then we’ll go round the whole cycle again?

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