Sciences Of The Artificial

Sciences Of The Artificial

  • Publish Date: 1970-02-28
  • Binding: Paperback
  • Author: Herbert A. Simon
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The MIT Press
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The Sciences of the Artificial reveals the design of an intellectual structure aimed at accommodating those empirical phenomena that are artificial rather than natural. The goal is to show how empirical sciences of artificial systems are possible, even in the face of the contingent and teleological character of the phenomena, their attributes of choice and purpose. Developing in some detail two specific exampleshuman psychology and engineering designProfessor Simon describes the shape of these sciences as they are emerging from developments of the past 25 years.

Artificial is used here in a very specific sense: to denote systems that have a given form and behavior only because they adapt (or are adapted), in reference to goals or purposes, to their environment. Thus, both man-made artifacts and man himself, in terms of his behavior, are artificial. Simon characterizes an artificial system as an interface between two environmentsinner and outer. These environments lie in the province of natural science, but the interface, linking them, is the realm of artificial science. When an artificial system adapts successfully, its behavior shows mostly the shape of the outer environment and reveals little of the structure or mechanisms of the inner. The inner environment becomes significant for behavior only when a system reaches the limits of its rationality and adaptability, and contingency degenerates into necessity.

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