We explore differential equations involving alcoholism, socialmobility, excess female mortality, and international arms competition.In each of these instances we show that the initial equation, orsystem of equations, has a sociological plausibility comparable tothat of the associated solutions; the solutions do indeed describetime-series trajectories that seem to represent important and uniquesocial processes. We argue that the central challenge of differentialequation modeling is to use experimentation to clarifyrelationships between, on the one hand, the equations andtheir coefficients and, on the other, the solutions and thetime-series orbits created by them. Such feedback interaction ofdifferential equations and their solutions appears to be the basis forfurther theoretical insight, and rapid assessments of theseinteractions are now possible largely because modern softwareencourages experimentation with many combinations of inputcoefficients.
Quality & Quantity – Springer Journals
Published: Oct 13, 2004
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