License to Explore: How Images Work in Simulation Modeling

  • Johannes LenhardEmail author
Part of the Philosophy of Engineering and Technology book series (POET, volume 28)


This contribution investigates the functions that visualizations fulfill in simulation modeling. The essential point is that visualization supports interaction between modeler and model during the iterative process of model building and adaptation. I argue for a differential perspective, meaning it is the differences between images that play a major role in this process. These differences are pivotal for comparing variants of a model according to their relative performances. This highlights the function not of single images, but of series of them. A couple of illustrative examples cover imagery used in particle physics, computational fluid dynamics engineering, and nanoscale tribology. The discussion shows how image-based simulation methods gear the sciences toward a mode that is well-known from engineering. In epistemic respects, this mode is oriented at a type of knowledge tailor-made for interventions and design. The explanatory capacity, on the other side, seems to be less favored.


Explanation Exploration Design Visualization Simulation modeling 


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© Springer International Publishing AG 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Philosophy and Institute for Interdisciplinary Studies of ScienceBielefeld UniversityBielefeldGermany

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