Tools or Toys?
On Specific Challenges for Modeling and the Epistemology of Models in the Social Sciences
3.2 Computer simulations are not experiments
Having thus established that the alleged novelty of computer simulations
does not distinguish them with respect to validation from models, the
question remains how computer simulations are related to experiments.
The philosopher's opinions could not be more diverse on this question.
There are those who believe that computer simulations are experiments
and can just like experiments be used to test hypotheses. And there
are others that believe that simulations are more like miniature theories
and therefore - quite the contrary - in need of empirical testing themselves.