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  1. Concepts of Solution and the Finite Element Method: A Philosophical Take on Variational Crimes.Nicolas Fillion & Robert M. Corless - forthcoming - Philosophy and Technology:1-20.
    Despite being one of the most dependable methods used by applied mathematicians and engineers in handling complex systems, the finite element method commits variational crimes. This paper contextualizes the concept of variational crime within a broader account of mathematical practice by explaining the tradeoff between complexity and accuracy involved in the construction of numerical methods. We articulate two standards of accuracy used to determine whether inexact solutions are good enough and show that, despite violating the justificatory principles of one, the (...)
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  • Reproducibility and the Concept of Numerical Solution.Johannes Lenhard & Uwe Küster - 2019 - Minds and Machines 29 (1):19-36.
    In this paper, we show that reproducibility is a severe problem that concerns simulation models. The reproducibility problem challenges the concept of numerical solution and hence the conception of what a simulation actually does. We provide an expanded picture of simulation that makes visible those steps of simulation modeling that are numerically relevant, but often escape notice in accounts of simulation. Examining these steps and analyzing a number of pertinent examples, we argue that numerical solutions are importantly different from usual (...)
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  • Conceptual and Computational Mathematics.Nicolas Fillion - forthcoming - Philosophia Mathematica:nkz005.
    ABSTRACT This paper examines consequences of the computer revolution in mathematics. By comparing its repercussions with those of conceptual developments that unfolded in the nineteenth century, I argue that the key epistemological lesson to draw from the two transformative periods is that effective and successful mathematical practices in science result from integrating the computational and conceptual styles of mathematics, and not that one of the two styles of mathematical reasoning is superior. Finally, I show that the methodology deployed by applied (...)
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  • Explanation and Abstraction From a Backward-Error Analytic Perspective.Nicolas Fillion & Robert H. C. Moir - 2018 - European Journal for Philosophy of Science 8 (3):735-759.
    We argue that two powerful error-theoretic concepts provide a general framework that satisfactorily accounts for key aspects of the explanation of physical patterns. This method gives an objective criterion to determine which mathematical models in a class of neighboring models are just as good as the exact one. The method also emphasizes that abstraction is essential for explanation and provides a precise conceptual framework that determines whether a given abstraction is explanatorily relevant and justified. Hence, it increases our epistemological understanding (...)
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  • The Adventures of Climate Science in the Sweet Land of Idle Arguments.Eric Winsberg & William Mark Goodwin - 2016 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part B: Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics 54:9-17.
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