What are the design issues to be considered when planning improvements for society? What is the primary unit of social planning? The nation-state? The organization? Values? Memes? Something else? What data can be used for planning the future of society? Given that humans tend to be disastrously wrong in almost all their forecasting and prognostication, is social design doomed to random results because the data from our predictions is so erroneous? What did the US Constitution get right that Plato, Sir Thomas More, and Karl Marx got wrong?
Who is the client of social design? Is society rightfully the client for all professional activity? When designing society, what adaptations are appropriate in considering time and space (given that here and now usually trump 100 or 1000 years from now)? Given that it is reasonable to imagine society continuing in perpetuity, how do we design without a final goal?
These questions are inspired by Chapter 6 in the penetrating, influential, and important book "The Sciences of the Artificial, Third Edition" by Herbert A. Simon [masked]). Simon was one of the most influential social scientists of the 20th century and recipient of the 1978 Nobel Prize in Economics. See the publisher's web site for more information about Simon's book by following this link. Note appropriate topics from the rest of Simon's book will be included in the discussion which will focus on Chapter 6 "Social Planning".
The Greater Philadelphia Thinking Society is a Meetup group that brings together thoughtful people for stimulating and civically minded conversations. Meetups include a recurring 10:30 AM discussion on Saturdays and Sundays, where small groups of members join in a relaxed setting to discuss a wide range of topics including culture, design, philosophy & religion, science & technology, psychology, politics, economics, and current events. Occasionally, larger events are held in the evenings, where presentations and discussions are combined with opportunities to meet a larger number of people who share your interest in the topic.
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