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 Why parsimony is a vice and not a virtue
    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


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