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SOCNET  July 2006

SOCNET July 2006

Subject:

Re: Mideast Network Map

From:

Ryan Lanham <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

Ryan Lanham <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Mon, 24 Jul 2006 14:18:15 -0400

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*****  To join INSNA, visit http://www.insna.org  *****

Of course this is right and I agree with your intent to offer models,
Valdis.  Still, that begs the question in SNA as to what is model and
what is scientific reality?  Is the result of an SNA new scientific
information or is it only the representation of other facts in clever
graphical forms?  If I make a new map of St. Louis I haven't done
science in most views of the term.  Is SNA mere cartography?      

Usually when we do science, we hope to have something where the
phenomena could prove false.  It is hard to imagine how your model would
or could be "false."  Let's say that I think the US is a little bit more
over this way and Syria a bit more over that way.  How do we resolve our
disagreements?  In other words, I have trouble discerning the value of a
model where I cannot query its error.  

Now let's say you wrote a narrative expressing something fairly similar
to what you built in your model.  I would probably have little trouble
accepting that the information embedded in your text was "knowledge" and
perhaps even scientific.  There is some sort of problem there that I
think we are not paying enough attention to because of the peculiar
knowledge representation issues SNA raises.  

Ryan

[xxx] >The problem with models is always what to include and what to
leave 
out.  You want to make them easy enough to understand and use [by more 
people than the designer].  Yet, you do not want to make them too easy, 
so they lose all touch with reality or the client/analyst says "so 
what".

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