Are Computer Simulations Experiments? And If Not, How Are They Related to Each Other?

Beisbart, Claus (2018). Are Computer Simulations Experiments? And If Not, How Are They Related to Each Other? European journal for philosophy of science, 8(2), pp. 171-204. Springer 10.1007/s13194-017-0181-5

[img] Text
published2018ejps.pdf - Published Version
Restricted to registered users only
Available under License Publisher holds Copyright.

Download (893kB) | Request a copy

Computer simulations and experiments share many important features. One way of explaining the similarities is to say that computer simulations just are experiments. This claim is quite popular in the literature. The aim of this paper is to argue against the claim and to develop an alternative explanation of why computer simulations resemble experiments. To this purpose, experiment is characterized in terms of an intervention on a system and of the observation of the reaction. Thus, if computer simulations are experiments, either the computer hardware or the target system must be intervened on and observed. I argue against the first option using the non-observation argument, among others. The second option is excluded by e.g. the over-control argument, which stresses epistemological differences between experiments and simulations. To account for the similarities between experiments and computer simulations, I propose to say that computer simulations can model possible experiments and do in fact often do so.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)

Division/Institute:

06 Faculty of Humanities > Department of Art and Cultural Studies > Institute of Philosophy
06 Faculty of Humanities > Department of Art and Cultural Studies > Institute of Philosophy > Theoretical Philosophy

UniBE Contributor:

Beisbart, Claus

Subjects:

100 Philosophy
100 Philosophy > 120 Epistemology

ISSN:

1879-4912

Publisher:

Springer

Language:

English

Submitter:

Claus Beisbart

Date Deposited:

20 Jun 2019 08:18

Last Modified:

23 Oct 2019 08:32

Publisher DOI:

10.1007/s13194-017-0181-5

BORIS DOI:

10.7892/boris.129683

URI:

https://boris.unibe.ch/id/eprint/129683

Actions (login required)

Edit item Edit item
Provide Feedback