Simulating risk, risking simulations

Simulating risk attitudes in group interactions and putting computational philosophy in conversation with digital humanities

Project team

Computational philosophy has a long history, and yet is not typically considered as falling under the “big tent” of digital humanities. Computational models and methodologies have enabled work in philosophy that would not otherwise be possible, but this research is not data-driven like most digital humanities work. In this project, we will work with computer simulations of agent-based modeling to explore the implications of incorporating a variety of risk attitudes (risk avoidance and risk seeking) into game theoretic interactions. The work will involve revising existing simulations and developing new ones to incorporate Buchak’s theory of risk and rationality in the context of group dynamics. Since Buchak’s theory has previously been applied only to individual decision-making, this will be a significant advance in the philosophical literature.

We will build, run, analyze, and interpret a variety of simulations in order to determine whether incorporating risk attitudes into existing simulations impacts results from previous models of rationality, and will also explore the impact of risk attitudes in other scenarios. But we will also consider critically the approach of working with and interpreting simplified models and stochastic simulations abstracted in code in the larger context of current digital humanities work, putting it in conversation with work with and criticism of computational models of language and other models of humanistic knowledge.

Lara Buchak (Philosophy) and Rebecca Sutton Koeser (CDH) are both serving as co-PI of the project.

CDH Grant History

  • 2022–2023 Research Partnership