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Article

Human Simulation and Sustainability: Ontological, Epistemological, and Ethical Reflections

1
Institute for Global Development and Planning, University of Agder, 4630 Kristiansand, Norway
2
School of Theology, Boston University, Boston, MA 02215, USA
3
Faculty of Computing and Data Sciences, Boston University, Boston, MA 02215, USA
4
Center for Mind and Culture, Boston, MA 02215, USA
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Sustainability 2020, 12(23), 10039; https://doi.org/10.3390/su122310039
Received: 25 October 2020 / Revised: 25 November 2020 / Accepted: 26 November 2020 / Published: 1 December 2020
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Modelling and Simulation of Human-Environment Interactions)
This article begins with a brief outline of recent advances in the application of computer modeling to sustainability research, identifying important gaps in coverage and associated limits in methodological capability, particularly in regard to taking account of the tangled human factors that are often impediments to a sustainable future. It then describes some of the ways in which a new transdisciplinary approach within “human simulation” can contribute to the further development of sustainability modeling, more effectively addressing such human factors through its emphasis on stakeholder, policy professional, and subject matter expert participation, and its focus on constructing more realistic cognitive architectures and artificial societies. Finally, the article offers philosophical reflections on some of the ontological, epistemological, and ethical issues raised at the intersection of sustainability research and social simulation, considered in light of the importance of human factors, including values and worldviews, in the modeling process. Based on this philosophical analysis, we encourage more explicit conversations about the value of naturalism and secularism in finding and facilitating effective and ethical strategies for sustainable development. View Full-Text
Keywords: computer modeling; human simulation; social simulation; sustainability; development studies; assemblage theory; ontology; epistemology; ethics computer modeling; human simulation; social simulation; sustainability; development studies; assemblage theory; ontology; epistemology; ethics
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MDPI and ACS Style

Shults, F.L.; Wildman, W.J. Human Simulation and Sustainability: Ontological, Epistemological, and Ethical Reflections. Sustainability 2020, 12, 10039. https://doi.org/10.3390/su122310039

AMA Style

Shults FL, Wildman WJ. Human Simulation and Sustainability: Ontological, Epistemological, and Ethical Reflections. Sustainability. 2020; 12(23):10039. https://doi.org/10.3390/su122310039

Chicago/Turabian Style

Shults, F. L., and Wesley J. Wildman 2020. "Human Simulation and Sustainability: Ontological, Epistemological, and Ethical Reflections" Sustainability 12, no. 23: 10039. https://doi.org/10.3390/su122310039

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