Simon and Critical Realists on Knowledge and Social Systems

Saturday, June 25, 2016: 4:15 PM-5:45 PM
235 Dwinelle (Dwinelle Hall)
Rouslan Koumakhov, NEOMA Business School, Reims, France
Adel Daoud, University of Gothenburg, Gothenburg, Sweden
Herbert Simon’s decision theory and critical realism are mutually compatible in a wide range of methodological and conceptual areas. To explore such compatibility, we re-examine Simon’s theory and emphasize the key role that his concept of mental representations, viewed in terms of knowledge and belief systems, plays in explaining decisional flexibility. Simonian approach, which rejects both methodological individualism and holism, is deeply concerned with how human beings interact with social and physical systems. We establish connections between this approach and Margaret Archer’s analysis of reflexivity and change. The resulting Simon-Archer framework relates individuals to social settings, while maintaining their distinctness and focus on intentionality and fallibility of decision process. This integrated framework emphasizes the influence that common knowledge and belief systems exert both on individual behavior and social structures. We outline implications of Archer-Simon connections, especially consequences for social analysis and explaining human-technology relations.