Experiments, Simulations, and Epistemic Privilege

Philosophy of Science 81 (4):516-536 (2014)
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Abstract

Experiments are commonly thought to have epistemic privilege over simulations. Two ideas underpin this belief: first, experiments generate greater inferential power than simulations, and second, simulations cannot surprise us the way experiments can. In this article I argue that neither of these claims is true of experiments versus simulations in general. We should give up the common practice of resting in-principle judgments about the epistemic value of cases of scientific inquiry on whether we classify those cases as experiments or simulations, per se. To the extent that either methodology puts researchers in a privileged epistemic position, this is context sensitive.

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Emily Parke
University of Auckland

Citations of this work

Modeling Morality.Walter Veit - 2019 - In Matthieu Fontaine, Cristina Barés-Gómez, Francisco Salguero-Lamillar, Lorenzo Magnani & Ángel Nepomuceno-Fernández (eds.), Model-Based Reasoning in Science and Technology: Inferential Models for Logic, Language, Cognition and Computation. Springer Verlag. pp. 83–102.
What is a Beautiful Experiment?Milena Ivanova - 2022 - Erkenntnis 88 (8):3419-3437.
The Value of Surprise in Science.Steven French & Alice Murphy - 2023 - Erkenntnis 88 (4):1447-1466.
Computer Simulations in Science.Eric Winsberg - forthcoming - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.

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