How can computer simulations produce new knowledge?

Beisbart, Claus (2012). How can computer simulations produce new knowledge? European journal for philosophy of science, 2(3), pp. 395-434. Springer 10.1007/s13194-012-0049-7

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It is often claimed that scientists can obtain new knowledge about nature by running computer simulations. How is this possible? I answer this question by arguing that computer simulations are arguments. This view parallels Norton’s argument view about thought experiments. I show that computer simulations can be reconstructed as arguments that fully capture the epistemic power of the simulations. Assuming the extended mind hypothesis, I furthermore argue that running the computer simulation is to execute the reconstructing argument. I discuss some objections and reject the view that computer simulations produce knowledge because they are experiments. I conclude by comparing thought experiments and computer simulations, assuming that both are arguments.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)

Division/Institute:

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

UniBE Contributor:

Beisbart, Claus

Subjects:

100 Philosophy
100 Philosophy > 120 Epistemology

ISSN:

1879-4912

Publisher:

Springer

Language:

English

Submitter:

Claus Beisbart

Date Deposited:

07 Apr 2014 12:43

Last Modified:

25 Jul 2017 11:00

Publisher DOI:

10.1007/s13194-012-0049-7

Uncontrolled Keywords:

Computer simulations, Knowledge, Arguments, Thought experiments, Reasoning, Extended mind hypothesis

BORIS DOI:

10.7892/boris.41833

URI:

https://boris.unibe.ch/id/eprint/41833

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