How Models Fail
A Critical Look at the History of Computer Simulations of the Evolution of Cooperation

Eckhart Arnold

How Models Fail: Table of Contents

1 Introduction

2 The empirical failure of simulations of the evolution of cooperation
    2.1 Axelrod's “The Evolution of Cooperation”
    2.2 The empirical failure of the RPD-model

3 Justificatory narratives
    3.1 Axelrod's narrative
    3.2 Schüßler's narrative
    3.3 The story of “slip stream altruism”
    3.4 The social learning strategies tournament

4 Bad excuses for bad methods and why they are wrong
    4.1 “Our knowledge is limited, anyway”
    4.2 “One can always learn something from failure”
    4.3 “Models always rely on simplification”
    4.4 “There are no alternatives to modeling”
    4.5 “Modeling promotes a scientific habit of mind”
    4.6 “Division of labor in science exempts theoreticians from empirical work”
    4.7 “Success within the scientific community proves scientific validity”
    4.8 “Natural sciences do it just the same way”
    4.9 Concluding remarks

5 History repeats itself: Comparison with similar criticisms of naturalistic or scientistic approaches


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