Computer Simulation in Experimentation Versus Computer Simulation as Experiment

Beisbart, Claus (16 March 2018). Computer Simulation in Experimentation Versus Computer Simulation as Experiment (Unpublished). In: Models and Simulations 8. University of South Carolina.

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Are computer simulations experiments? Are they at least epistemically on par with them? These questions are at the center of a lively debate in the philosophy of computer simulation. So far, the focus has been on computer simulations that are supposed to yield approximate solutions to equations from theories and that are in this sense theoretically motivated. But computer simulations play a central role within experiments too, for instance in particle physics. In a recent paper, Massimi and Bhimji have used such experiments to argue that computer simulations and experiments are epistemically on par. This aim of this talk is to discuss the view taken by Massimi and Bhimji. The main thread of my criticism can be summarized in the slogan: That computer simulation is used in experimentation (broadly conceived) doesn't show it to be experiments or on par with experiments. I start with examples of computer simulations in experimental high-energy physics. My aim here is to identify the key tasks that computer simulations are supposed to fulfill. I then present the view by Massimi and Bhimji and discuss it in depth. I come to reject the claim that computer simulations are on par with experiments even in experiments from high-energy physics and present the alternative view that some computer simulations model experiments. My question then is how simulated experiments can complement real experiments. In the last part of the talk I focus on validation and try to show that validation may be used to bring out differences between experimentation and computer simulation.

Item Type:

Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)

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

Language:

English

Submitter:

Claus Beisbart

Date Deposited:

28 May 2019 17:16

Last Modified:

28 May 2019 17:16

URI:

https://boris.unibe.ch/id/eprint/129687

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