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Computer Simulations

How do the behaviors of individuals affect populations over time? What is the effect on survival and happiness within civilizations that have particular types of behaviors?

The answer to this can be partly determined by the study of history, but it's hard to control all the conditions for a cause-and-effect experiment. Also, when proposing new standards of behavior, it may take decades or centures to see results across generations. One way to address that problem is to model behaviors using a computer simulation, in order to observe the long term results...

A computer simulation may not be a perfect research tool (because it will inevitably simplify the real world), but it can provide valuable insights. With the use of simluation, we can begin to see how ethical rules make a difference across generations. Thanks to modern computing technology, we have a tool that the philosophers of the past never had, and a golden opportunity to make significant advancement in the science of ethics.

The most sophisticated model we have to offer is Project NewWorld. It models survivability and motivational satisfaction that arises based on a number of ethical and non-ethical behaviors. You can download it and run it on your PC. Click the hyperlink below to find out more...

Demonstration of basic principles of ethical behavior across generations: Project NewWorld software: Ethics in a simulated world

If you are interested in developing your own simulation, you might check out the NetLogo software. Here is a link to a simple cooperation simulation developed using NetLogo, which involves a pasture of cows:
Cow cooperation model

Also, if you haven't seen our simple Emergence of a Rule online simulation that runs in your web browser using javascript, you can try it now.


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