Simulations, models, and theories: Complex physical systems and their representations

Abstract

Using an example of a computer simulation of the convective structure of a red giant star, this paper argues that simulation is a rich inferential process, and not simply a "number crunching" technique. The scientific practice of simulation, moreover, poses some interesting and challenging epistemological and methodological issues for the philosophy of science. I will also argue that these challenges would be best addressed by a philosophy of science that places less emphasis on the representational capacity of theories (and ascribes that capacity instead to models) and more emphasis on the role of theory in guiding (rather than determining) the construction of models

Download options

PhilArchive



    Upload a copy of this work     Papers currently archived: 72,879

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
414 (#24,787)

6 months
6 (#116,803)

Historical graph of downloads
How can I increase my downloads?

Author's Profile

Eric Winsberg
University of South Florida

References found in this work

How the Laws of Physics Lie.Nancy Cartwright - 1983 - Oxford, England: Oxford University Press.
The Structure of Scientific Theories.Frederick Suppe (ed.) - 1974 - Urbana, University of Illinois Press.

View all 14 references / Add more references

Citations of this work

Simulated Experiments: Methodology for a Virtual World.Winsberg Eric - 2003 - Philosophy of Science 70 (1):105-125.
Holism, Entrenchment, and the Future of Climate Model Pluralism.Johannes Lenhard & Eric Winsberg - 2010 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part B: Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics 41 (3):253-262.
How Can Computer Simulations Produce New Knowledge?Claus Beisbart - 2012 - European Journal for Philosophy of Science 2 (3):395-434.

View all 43 citations / Add more citations

Similar books and articles