The philosophy of simulation: hot new issues or same old stew?

Synthese 169 (3):593-613 (2009)

Authors
Roman Frigg
London School of Economics
Julian Reiss
Durham University
Abstract
Computer simulations are an exciting tool that plays important roles in many scientific disciplines. This has attracted the attention of a number of philosophers of science. The main tenor in this literature is that computer simulations not only constitute interesting and powerful new science , but that they also raise a host of new philosophical issues. The protagonists in this debate claim no less than that simulations call into question our philosophical understanding of scientific ontology, the epistemology and semantics of models and theories, and the relation between experimentation and theorising, and submit that simulations demand a fundamentally new philosophy of science in many respects. The aim of this paper is to critically evaluate these claims. Our conclusion will be sober. We argue that these claims are overblown and that simulations, far from demanding a new metaphysics, epistemology, semantics and methodology, raise few if any new philosophical problems. The philosophical problems that do come up in connection with simulations are not specific to simulations and most of them are variants of problems that have been discussed in other contexts before.
Keywords Philosophy   Metaphysics   Philosophy of Language   Logic   Epistemology   Computer Science, general   Philosophy of Science
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Reprint years 2008, 2009
DOI 10.1007/s11229-008-9438-z
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References found in this work BETA

How the Laws of Physics Lie.Nancy Cartwright - 1983 - Oxford University Press.

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Citations of this work BETA

Computer Simulation and the Philosophy of Science.Eric Winsberg - 2009 - Philosophy Compass 4 (5):835-845.
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Are Computer Simulations Experiments? And If Not, How Are They Related to Each Other?Claus Beisbart - 2018 - European Journal for Philosophy of Science 8 (2):171-204.

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