Tools or Toys?
On Specific Challenges for Modeling and the Epistemology of Models in the Social Sciences

Eckhart Arnold

Tools or Toys: Table of Contents


1 Introduction

2 The role of models in science
    2.1 The nature of models
    2.2 Where models get their credentials from

3 Why computer simulations are merely models and not experiments
    3.1 Computer simulations are just elaborate models
    3.2 Computer simulations are not experiments
        3.2.1 The simulations-experiments dispute
        3.2.2 Resolving the simulations-experiments dispute

4 The epistemology of simulations at work: How simulations are used to study chemical reactions in the ribosome

5 How do models explain in the social sciences?

6 Common obstacles for modeling in the social sciences
    6.1 Lack of universal background theories
    6.2 Pluralism of Paradigms
    6.3 Multiple and varying causes for the same effect
    6.4 “Wholistic” nature of many phenomena in the social sciences
    6.5 Difficulties of measurement
    6.6 Pluralism of scientific styles

7 Conclusions
    7.1 Consequences for modellers in the social sciences
        7.1.1 Consequences for problem orientated research
        7.1.2 Conseqeunces for method centered research
    7.2 Consequences for philosophers of science

Bibliography

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