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Does matter really matter? Computer simulations, experiments, and materiality

Abstract

A number of recent discussions comparing computer simulation and traditional experimentation have focused on the significance of “materiality.” I challenge several claims emerging from this work and suggest that computer simulation studies are material experiments in a straightforward sense. After discussing some of the implications of this material status for the epistemology of computer simulation, I consider the extent to which materiality (in a particular sense) is important when it comes to making justified inferences about target systems on the basis of experimental results.

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Correspondence to Wendy S. Parker.

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Parker, W.S. Does matter really matter? Computer simulations, experiments, and materiality. Synthese 169, 483–496 (2009). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11229-008-9434-3

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s11229-008-9434-3

Keywords

  • Computer simulation
  • Experiment
  • Models
  • Materiality