Synthese 191 (15):3595-3620 (2014)

Anouk Barberousse
Université Paris-Sorbonne
Marion Clara Vorms
Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique
Computer simulations are widely used in current scientific practice, as a tool to obtain information about various phenomena. Scientists accordingly rely on the outputs of computer simulations to make statements about the empirical world. In that sense, simulations seem to enable scientists to acquire empirical knowledge. The aim of this paper is to assess whether computer simulations actually allow for the production of empirical knowledge, and how. It provides an epistemological analysis of present-day empirical science, to which the traditional epistemological categories cannot apply in any simple way. Our strategy consists in acknowledging the complexity of scientific practice, and trying to assess its rationality. Hence, while we are careful not to abstract away from the details of scientific practice, our approach is not strictly descriptive: our goal is to state in what conditions empirical science can rely on computer simulations. In order to do so, we need to adopt a renewed epistemological framework, whose categories would enable us to give a finer-grained, and better-fitted analysis of the rationality of scientific practice
Keywords Computer simulation  Empirical knowledge  Entitlement  Justification  Warrant  Expertise
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DOI 10.1007/s11229-014-0482-6
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References found in this work BETA

Naming and Necessity.Saul Kripke - 1980 - In Darragh Byrne & Max Kölbel (eds.), Philosophy. Routledge. pp. 431-433.
Content Preservation.Tyler Burge - 1993 - Philosophical Review 102 (4):457-488.
Warrant for Nothing (and Foundations for Free)?Crispin Wright - 2004 - Aristotelian Society Supplementary Volume 78 (1):167–212.

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Citations of this work BETA

Computer Simulations in Science.Eric Winsberg - forthcoming - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
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