How Scientists Think
Pp. 3-51 (49)
Bruce J. West
We begin by focusing on the ways we record the myriad of events that make
up our lives, using simple models that are intended to capture the dominant features of
those events and to provide coherent interlinking of events. If the world did not change
in time, more and more detail could be added to these models, with each repetition of
an event. Eventually we would have an accurate reconstruction of a successful
economic relationship, of a nurturing family, or of a supportive organization. But
things do change, even if our reactions to them do not. To understand these changes
scientists have developed techniques that quantify and communicate objective models
of these subjective events. Without presenting the technical details of how scientists
construct such models, I use a combination of personal history and discussions of the
science hidden by a variety of social problems, to lay the foundation for the
understanding and resolution of these problems in subsequent chapters.
Chaos, Exponential growth, Grand visions, Mental models, Multiple
saturations, Saturation, Technology evolution.
Research Triangle, Park Durham, NC 27709, USA.