The limited degree of rationality in decision making due to the limited computational abilities of the decision-maker.
This concept was established by H. SIMON (1969, p.214-29). As stated by J. CASTI: "SIMON assumed that economic agents can never make truly optimal decisions because they are inherently limited in the amount of information that they can process prior to having to make a decision. Accordingly, for SIMON, all decisions, economic or otherwise, generally lead to a nonoptimal "satisficing" kind of behavior" (1990, p.231).
As a consequence, SIMON finds it very important to reduce the extension of what must be computed: "… if an organism is confronted with the problem of behaving approximately rationally, or adaptively, in a particular environment, the kinds of simplifications that are suitable may depend not only of the characteristics – sensory, neural, and other – of the organism, but equally upon the structure of the environment" (1969, p.215).
It becomes thus of paramount importance to establish efficient criteria for structural simplification of situations, without losing their really significant characteristics. The nature of of an efficient structural simplification process appears clearly through SIMON's parable about Hora and Tempus watchmakers.
Most generally, the two opposite aspects to be taken care of, for simplification previous to decision-making, are the necessity of maintenance conditions of the system and the need for sufficient degrees of freedom.
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Bertalanffy Center for the Study of Systems Science (2020). Title of the entry. In Charles François (Ed.), International Encyclopedia of Systems and Cybernetics (2). Retrieved from www.systemspedia.org/[full/url]
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