Simplicity, generality and truth
in social modelling
Part 1: Epistemological issues
The paper addresses the standard issues of simplicity, generality and truth as they apply to social modelling. It is argued that evidence driven, agent based social simulation turns on their head constraints on model or theory simplicity and leads naturally to empirical validation (hence assessment of truth). Generalisation follows by abstracting elements of empirical models. A research programme of empirical model and model abstraction could form the basis for and empirically based, general social theory. A demonstration of the elements of this programme is reported in Part 2.