Why Monte Carlo Simulations are Inferences and not Experiments

Beisbart, Claus; Norton, John D. (2012). Why Monte Carlo Simulations are Inferences and not Experiments. International studies in the philosophy of science, 26(4), pp. 403-422. Taylor & Francis 10.1080/02698595.2012.748497

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Monte Carlo simulations arrive at their results by introducing randomness, sometimes derived from a physical randomizing device. Nonetheless, we argue, they open no new epistemic channels beyond that already employed by traditional simulations: the inference by ordinary argumentation of conclusions from assumptions built into the simulations. We show that Monte Carlo simulations cannot produce knowledge other than by inference, and that they resemble other computer simulations in the manner in which they derive their conclusions. Simple examples of Monte Carlo simulations are analysed to identify the underlying inferences.

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:

0269-8595

Publisher:

Taylor & Francis

Language:

English

Submitter:

Claus Beisbart

Date Deposited:

07 Apr 2014 12:40

Last Modified:

10 Aug 2015 13:40

Publisher DOI:

10.1080/02698595.2012.748497

BORIS DOI:

10.7892/boris.49196

URI:

https://boris.unibe.ch/id/eprint/49196

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