Tools for Evaluating the Consequences of Prior Knowledge, but no Experiments. On the Role of Computer Simulations in Science

Eckhart Arnold

1 Introduction
2 Common features of simulations and experiments
3 Distinguishing features of experiments and simulations
4 Borderline cases
5 Summary and conclusion: Computer simulations as a tools for drawing conclusions from prior knowledge


  1. (Arnold:2008) Arnold, Eckhart. 2008. Explaining Altruism. A Simulation-Based Approach and its Limits. Heusenstamm: ontos Verlag.
  2. (Axelrod:2003) Axelrod, Robert. 2006. Simulation in the Social Sciences. Vol. Handbook of Research on Nature Inspired Computing for Economics and Management. Volume 1: Nature Inspired Computing and Social Sciences Hershey (Pennsylvania): IGI Global chapter 7, pp. 90-100.
  3. (Barberousse et al.:2009) Barberousse, Anouk, Sara Franceschelli and Cyrile Imbert. 2009. “Computer simulations as experiments.” Synthese 169:557-574.
  4. (Franklin/Howson:1984) Franklin, Allan and Colin Howson. 1984. “Why do scientists prefer to vary their experiments?” Studies in the History and Philosophy of Science 15(1):51-62.
  5. (Gilbert/Troitzsch:2005) Gilbert, Nigel and Klaus G. Troitzsch. 2005. Simulation for the Social Scientist. McGraw-Hill.
  6. (Goumans/Kaestner:2010) Goumans, Theodorus P. M. and Johannes K√§stner. 2010. “Hydrogen-Atom Tunneling Could Contribute to Formation in Space.” Angewandte Chemie, International Edition 49:7350-7352.
  7. (Gramelsberger:2010) Gramelsberger, Gabriele. 2010. Computerexperimente. Zum Wandel der Wissenschaft im Zeitalter des Computers. Bielefeld: transcript Verlag.
  8. (Hacking:1983) Hacking, Ian. 1983. Representing and Intervening: Introductory Topics in the Philosophy of Natural Science. Cambridge University Press.
  9. (Heath et al.:2009) Heath, Brian, Raymond Hill and Frank Ciarello. 2009. “A Survey of Agent-Based Modeling Practices (January 1998 to July 2008).” Journal of Artifical Societies and Social Simulation (JASSS) 12(4):9.
  10. (Hughes:1999) Hughes, R. I. G. 1999. The Ising model, computer simulation, and universal physics. In Models as Mediators. Perspectives on Natural and Social Science, ed. Mary S. Morgan and Margaret Morrison. Cambridge University Press chapter 5, pp. 97-145.
  11. (Humphreys:1994) Humphreys, Paul. 1994. Numerical Experimentation. In Patrick Suppes: Scientific Philosopher. Volume 2. Philosophy of Physics, Theory Structure and Measurement Theory, ed. Paul Humphreys. Vol. 2 Kluwer Acacdemic Publishers pp. 103-118.
  12. (Kueppers/Lenhard:2005) K G and Johannes Lenhard. 2005. “Computersimulationen: Modellierungen 2. Ordnung.” Journal for General Philosophy of Science 36:305-329.
  13. (Lee/Carroll:2010) Lee, Daniel C. and Timothy J. Carroll. 2010. Magnetic Resonance Imaging. Vol. Practical Signal and Image Processing in Clinical Cardiology Dordrecht, Heidelberg, London, New York: Springer Verlag chapter 16, pp. 251-273.
  14. (Morgan:2003) Morgan, Mary S. 2003. Experiments without Material Intervention. Model Experiments, Virtual Experiments, and virtually Experiments. In The Philosophy of Scientific Experimentation, ed. Hans Radder. University of Pittsburgh Press pp. 216-233.
  15. (Morrison:2009) Morrison, Margaret. 2009. “Models, measurement and computer simulation: the changing face of experimentation.” Philosophical Studies 143:33-57.
  16. (Parker:2009) Parker, Wendy S. 2009. “Does matter really matter? Computer simulations, experiments, and materiality.” Synthese 169:483-496.
  17. (Rohrlich:1990) Rohrlich, Fritz. 1990. Computer Simulation in the Physical Sciences. In PSA: Proceedings of the Biennial Meeting of the Philosophy of Science Association. Volume Two: Symposia and Invited Papers. University of Chicago Press pp. 507-518.
  18. (Senn/Thiel:2009) Senn, Hans Martin and Walter Thiel. 2009. “QM/MM Methods for Biomolecular Systems.” Angewandte Chemie. International Edition 48:1198-1229.
  19. (Wikipedia:double_slit) wikipedia. 2010. “Double-slit experiment.”.{}experiment
  20. (Winkler et al.:1987) Winkler, Karl-Heinz A., Jay W. Chalmers, Stephen W. Hodson, Paul R. Woodward and Norman J. Zabusky. 1987. “A numerical laboratory.” Physics Today 40:28-37.
  21. (Winsberg:2001) Winsberg, Eric. 2001. “Simulations, Models and Theories: Complex physical systems and their representations.” Philosophy of Science 68 (Proceedings):442-454.
  22. (Winsberg:2003) Winsberg, Eric. 2003. “Simulated Experiments: Methodology for a Virtual World.” Philosophy of Science 70:105-125.
  23. (Winsberg:2009) Winsberg, Eric. 2009. “A tale of two methods.” Synthese 169:575-592.
  24. (Winsberg:2010) Winsberg, Eric. 2010. Science in the Age of Computer Simulation. Chicago and London: The University of Chicago Press.

t g+ f @