Minds and Machines

, Volume 29, Issue 1, pp 37–60 | Cite as

Epistemic Entitlements and the Practice of Computer Simulation

  • John SymonsEmail author
  • Ramón Alvarado


What does it mean to trust the results of a computer simulation? This paper argues that trust in simulations should be grounded in empirical evidence, good engineering practice, and established theoretical principles. Without these constraints, computer simulation risks becoming little more than speculation. We argue against two prominent positions in the epistemology of computer simulation and defend a conservative view that emphasizes the difference between the norms governing scientific investigation and those governing ordinary epistemic practices.


Computer simulation Trust Epistemology Entitlements Models 



This paper has benefited greatly from the work of two referees for this journal. We sincerely thank both of them for their detailed criticisms and thoughtful questions. We are grateful also to Samuel Arbesman, Jack Horner, Paul Humphreys, and Andreas Kaminski for discussions that contributed to the development of this paper. This work is supported by The National Security Agency through the Science of Security initiative contract #H98230-18-D-0009.


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© Springer Nature B.V. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of KansasLawrenceUSA

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