How Digital Computer Simulations Explain Real‐World Processes

International Studies in the Philosophy of Science 22 (3):277 – 292 (2008)
  Copy   BIBTEX

Abstract

Scientists of many disciplines use theoretical models to explain and predict the dynamics of the world. They often have to rely on digital computer simulations to draw predictions fromthe model. But to deliver phenomenologically adequate results, simulations deviate from the assumptions of the theoretical model. Therefore the role of simulations in scientific explanation demands itself an explanation. This paper analyzes the relation between real-world system, theoretical model, and simulation. It is argued that simulations do not explain processes in the real world directly. The way in which simulations help explaining real-world processes is conceived as indirect, mediated by the theoretical model. Simulacra are characterized further, and turn out to be a priori measurable. This gives a clue to a better understanding of the epistemic role of computer simulations in scientific research.

Links

PhilArchive



    Upload a copy of this work     Papers currently archived: 91,349

External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server

Through your library

Analytics

Added to PP
2009-01-28

Downloads
208 (#93,041)

6 months
12 (#203,353)

Historical graph of downloads
How can I increase my downloads?

Author's Profile

Ulrich Krohs
University of Münster