Does matter really matter? Computer simulations, experiments, and materiality

Synthese 169 (3):483 - 496 (2009)
Abstract
A number of recent discussions comparing computer simulation and traditional experimentation have focused on the significance of “materiality.” I challenge several claims emerging from this work and suggest that computer simulation studies are material experiments in a straightforward sense. After discussing some of the implications of this material status for the epistemology of computer simulation, I consider the extent to which materiality (in a particular sense) is important when it comes to making justified inferences about target systems on the basis of experimental results.
Keywords Computer simulation  Experiment  Models  Materiality
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