David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
Learn more about PhilPapers
Synthese 182 (1):117-129 (2011)
This paper draws attention to an increasingly common method of using computer simulations to establish evidential standards in physics. By simulating an actual detection procedure on a computer, physicists produce patterns of data (‘signatures’) that are expected to be observed if a sought-after phenomenon is present. Claims to detect the phenomenon are evaluated by comparing such simulated signatures with actual data. Here I provide a justification for this practice by showing how computer simulations establish the reliability of detection procedures. I argue that this use of computer simulation undermines two fundamental tenets of the Bogen–Woodward account of evidential reasoning. Contrary to Bogen and Woodward’s view, computer-simulated signatures rely on ‘downward’ inferences from phenomena to data. Furthermore, these simulations establish the reliability of experimental setups without physically interacting with the apparatus. I illustrate my claims with a study of the recent detection of the superfluid-to-Mott-insulator phase transition in ultracold atomic gases
|Keywords||computer simulation experiment physics evidence data phenomena|
|Categories||categorize this paper)|
Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
|Through your library|
References found in this work BETA
James Bogen & James Woodward (1988). Saving the Phenomena. Philosophical Review 97 (3):303-352.
James Bogen & Jim Woodward (2005). Evading the Irs. Poznan Studies in the Philosophy of the Sciences and the Humanities 86 (1):233-268.
Stephan Hartmann (1996). The World as a Process: Simulations in the Natural and Social Sciences. In Rainer Hegselmann (ed.), Modelling and Simulation in the Social Sciences from the Philosophy of Science Point of View.
Wendy S. Parker (2009). Does Matter Really Matter? Computer Simulations, Experiments, and Materiality. Synthese 169 (3):483 - 496.
Citations of this work BETA
No citations found.
Similar books and articles
Peter Krebs (2007). Virtual Models and Simulations. Techné 11 (1):42-54.
James W. McAllister (1997). Phenomena and Patterns in Data Sets. Erkenntnis 47 (2):217-228.
Jim Woodward (2000). Data, Phenomena, and Reliability. Philosophy of Science 67 (3):179.
Sara Franceschelli (2009). Computer Simulations as Experiments. Synthese 169 (3):557 - 574.
Anouk Barberousse, Sara Franceschelli & Cyrille Imbert (2009). Computer Simulations as Experiments. Synthese 169 (3):557 - 574.
Jan Doroszewski (1988). Ethical and Methodological Aspects of Medical Computer Data Bases and Knowledge Bases. Theoretical Medicine and Bioethics 9 (2).
Michela Massimi (2011). From Data to Phenomena: A Kantian Stance. Synthese 182 (1):101-116.
Jochen Apel (2011). On the Meaning and the Epistemological Relevance of the Notion of a Scientific Phenomenon. Synthese 182 (1):23-38.
Johannes Lenhard (2007). Computer Simulation: The Cooperation Between Experimenting and Modeling. Philosophy of Science 74 (2):176-194.
Added to index2009-08-01
Total downloads63 ( #22,304 of 1,096,510 )
Recent downloads (6 months)2 ( #139,663 of 1,096,510 )
How can I increase my downloads?