PhilPapers is currently in read-only mode while we are performing some maintenance. You can use the site normally except that you cannot sign in. This shouldn't last long.

Models of success versus the success of models: Reliability without truth

Synthese 152 (1):1 - 19 (2006)
Abstract
In computer simulations of physical systems, the construction of models is guided, but not determined, by theory. At the same time simulations models are often constructed precisely because data are sparse. They are meant to replace experiments and observations as sources of data about the world; hence they cannot be evaluated simply by being compared to the world. So what can be the source of credibility for simulation models? I argue that the credibility of a simulation model comes not only from the credentials supplied to it by the governing theory, but also from the antecedently established credentials of the model building techniques employed by the simulationists. In other words, there are certain sorts of model building techniques which are taken, in and of themselves, to be reliable. Some of these model building techniques, moreover, incorporate what are sometimes called “falsifications.” These are contrary-to-fact principles that are included in a simulation model and whose inclusion is taken to increase the reliability of the results. The example of a falsification that I consider, called artificial viscosity, is in widespread use in computational fluid dynamics. Artificial viscosity, I argue, is a principle that is successfully and reliably used across a wide domain of fluid dynamical applications, but it does not offer even an approximately “realistic” or true account of fluids. Artificial viscosity, therefore, is a counter-example to the principle that success implies truth – a principle at the foundation of scientific realism. It is an example of reliability without truth.
Keywords No keywords specified (fix it)
Categories (categorize this paper)
Options
 Save to my reading list
Follow the author(s)
My bibliography
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Revision history Request removal from index
 
Download options
PhilPapers Archive


Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy on self-archival     Papers currently archived: 9,360
External links
  •   Try with proxy.
  •   Try with proxy.
  •   Try with proxy.
  • Through your library Configure
    References found in this work BETA

    No references found.

    Citations of this work BETA
    Wendy S. Parker (2009). Confirmation and Adequacy-for-Purpose in Climate Modelling. Aristotelian Society Supplementary Volume 83 (1):233-249.

    View all 10 citations

    Similar books and articles
    Analytics

    Monthly downloads

    Added to index

    2009-01-28

    Total downloads

    38 ( #38,135 of 1,088,810 )

    Recent downloads (6 months)

    5 ( #20,069 of 1,088,810 )

    How can I increase my downloads?

    My notes
    Sign in to use this feature


    Discussion
    Start a new thread
    Order:
    There  are no threads in this forum
    Nothing in this forum yet.