David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Ezio Di Nucci
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
Wendy S. Parker (2009). Does Matter Really Matter? Computer Simulations, Experiments, and Materiality. Synthese 169 (3):483 - 496.
Eric Winsberg (2003). Simulated Experiments: Methodology for a Virtual World. Philosophy of Science 70 (1):105-125.
James Bogen & James Woodward (1988). Saving the Phenomena. Philosophical Review 97 (3):303-352.
Eric Winsberg (2009). A Tale of Two Methods. Synthese 169 (3):575 - 592.
Citations of this work BETA
Boaz Miller (2015). Why Knowledge is the Property of a Community and Possibly None of its Members. Philosophical Quarterly 65 (260):417-441.
Similar books and articles
Peter Krebs (2007). Virtual Models and Simulations. Techne 11 (1):42-54.
Johannes Lenhard (2007). Computer Simulation: The Cooperation Between Experimenting and Modeling. Philosophy of Science 74 (2):176-194.
Jochen Apel (2011). On the Meaning and the Epistemological Relevance of the Notion of a Scientific Phenomenon. Synthese 182 (1):23-38.
Michela Massimi (2011). From Data to Phenomena: A Kantian Stance. Synthese 182 (1):101-116.
Jan Doroszewski (1988). Ethical and Methodological Aspects of Medical Computer Data Bases and Knowledge Bases. Theoretical Medicine and Bioethics 9 (2).
Anouk Barberousse, Sara Franceschelli & Cyrille Imbert (2009). Computer Simulations as Experiments. Synthese 169 (3):557 - 574.
Sara Franceschelli (2009). Computer Simulations as Experiments. Synthese 169 (3):557 - 574.
Jim Woodward (2000). Data, Phenomena, and Reliability. Philosophy of Science 67 (3):179.
James W. McAllister (1997). Phenomena and Patterns in Data Sets. Erkenntnis 47 (2):217-228.
Added to index2009-08-01
Total downloads76 ( #52,393 of 1,789,932 )
Recent downloads (6 months)4 ( #197,702 of 1,789,932 )
How can I increase my downloads?