Welcome to my blog posting for Agents, Evolution and International Relations. This first post is really a preamble to what I hope will become a useful outlet and venue for presenting and discussing new ideas about agent-based modeling and the study of the international system.
The ideas I hope to write about have been a long time in development, and yet remain incomplete. As the title suggests, my thinking on international relations and its study has evolved, constantly adapting with each passing event, exposure to alternative theories, and learning of new methods. Yet, at the core lies an interest in understanding how states, their formal organizations and informal networks determine what is in the national interest.
As an undergraduate I studied military innovation and intelligence analysis, two topics that focused on the frontiers of what is known and how to cope with uncertainty. After graduating I had an opportunity to work on these topics professionally and to continue my studies as a graduate student. While pursuing my MA, I developed a deep interest in theory, epistemology and methodology—a set of concepts that differentiated serious study of complex problems from chronicling current events. Eventually (with the urging of several professional and scholarly mentors), I stumbled upon computational modeling, bounded rationality, and evolutionary theory—the main subject of this blog.
In the 1970s and 80s, international relations imported ideas, concepts, terms, and models from economics resulting in an explosion of insights, predictions, and controversies. I hope that the ideas expressed here and elsewhere serve as the start of a new wave of creativity and discovery in international relations by drawing on evolution and ecology, endowing the discipline with a deeper appreciation for information, choice, chance, and contingency.
As I write this, I am on my way to attend the 2011 International Studies Association Conference in Montreal. It seems like this four day conference is a logical starting point for this blog, and I hope readers will find the postings interesting and thought provoking.