The Perspective of Dynamical Minimalism
The goal of dynamical minimalism is to identify the simplest mechanisms and the fewest variables capable of producing the phenomenon we are trying to explain. Dynamical minimalism bases its explanation on emergence: Complex properties on the level of a system arise in unexpected ways from the interactions of simple elements. Computer simulations are used to identify the simplest properties of elements and the rules of interactions that produce the phenomenon. Several models of influence and their emergent properties are discussed in relation to how culture emerges and how cultural changes occur. The properties of the models are related to known cultural variables. A second family of models investigates the integration process of individuals coming from different cultures. Computer simulations show that many properties of culture may be explained by simple, local rules of influence among individuals and that typical patterns of cultural change and critical parameters can be identified for the dynamics of culture.
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