A tale of two methods

Synthese 169 (3):575 - 592 (2009)
Abstract
Simulations (both digital and analog) and experiments share many features. But what essential features distinguish them? I discuss two proposals in the literature. On one proposal, experiments investigate nature directly, while simulations merely investigate models. On another proposal, simulations differ from experiments in that simulationists manipulate objects that bear only a formal (rather than material) similarity to the targets of their investigations. Both of these proposals are rejected. I argue that simulations fundamentally differ from experiments with regard to the background knowledge that is invoked to argue for the “external validity” of the investigation.
Keywords Models  Simulations  Validation  Experiments  Methodology  Computers
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DOI 10.1007/s11229-008-9437-0
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References found in this work BETA
The Sciences of the Artificial.Herbert A. Simon - 1969 - [Cambridge, M.I.T. Press.
Experimenting on Theories.Deborah Dowling - 1999 - Science in Context 12 (2).
Computational Empiricism.Paul Humphreys - 1995 - Foundations of Science 1 (1):119-130.

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Citations of this work BETA
Coupling Simulation and Experiment: The Bimodal Strategy in Integrative Systems Biology.Miles MacLeod & Nancy J. Nersessian - 2013 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C: Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences 44 (4):572-584.
Computer Simulation and the Philosophy of Science.Eric Winsberg - 2009 - Philosophy Compass 4 (5):835-845.

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Computer Simulations.Paul Humphreys - 1990 - PSA: Proceedings of the Biennial Meeting of the Philosophy of Science Association 1990:497 - 506.
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How Digital Computer Simulations Explain Real-World Processes.Ulrich Krohs - 2008 - International Studies in the Philosophy of Science 22 (3):277 – 292.
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