Abstract: Raimo Tuomela is one of the most distinguished authors working in the field of social ontology, and this book is a helpful presentation and elaboration of the views he has been developing since at least the 1980s. I find the material very challenging, and indeed in some spots quite puzzling. This is partly due to the depth and sophistication of the material itself, but I suspect it is also partly due to how the arguments are presented and defended. While I cannot hope to do justice to all of the arguments Tuomela presents, I’ll evaluate what I take to be the most significant of them. The field of social ontology can be divided into two main (and possibly overlapping) sub-fields: the first concerns group agents, while the second concerns social reality. Tuomela’s book primarily treats questions regarding group agents. The first seven chapters of his book are about the properties of group agents and how they relate to individual agents: how group agents act; how the attitudes of …
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Bongard's work focuses on understanding the general nature of cognition, regardless of whether it is found in humans, animals or robots. This unique approach focuses on the role that morphology and evolution plays in cognition. Addressing these questions has taken him into the fields of biology, psychology, engineering and computer science.
Danforth is an applied mathematician interested in modeling a variety of physical, biological, and social phenomenon. He has applied principles of chaos theory to improve weather forecasts as a member of the Mathematics and Climate Research Network, and developed a real-time remote sensor of global happiness using messages from Twitter: the Hedonometer. Danforth co-runs the Computational Story Lab with Peter Dodds, and helps run UVM's reading group on complexity.
Laurent studies the interaction of structure and dynamics. His research involves network theory, statistical physics and nonlinear dynamics along with their applications in epidemiology, ecology, biology, and sociology. Recent projects include comparing complex networks of different nature, the coevolution of human behavior and infectious diseases, understanding the role of forest shape in determining stability of tropical forests, as well as the impact of echo chambers in political discussions.
Hines' work broadly focuses on finding ways to make electric energy more reliable, more affordable, with less environmental impact. Particular topics of interest include understanding the mechanisms by which small problems in the power grid become large blackouts, identifying and mitigating the stresses caused by large amounts of electric vehicle charging, and quantifying the impact of high penetrations of wind/solar on electricity systems.
Bagrow's interests include: Complex Networks (community detection, social modeling and human dynamics, statistical phenomena, graph similarity and isomorphism), Statistical Physics (non-equilibrium methods, phase transitions, percolation, interacting particle systems, spin glasses), and Optimization(glassy techniques such as simulated/quantum annealing, (non-gradient) minimization of noisy objective functions).