Authors
Eckhart Arnold
Bavarian Academy of Sciences And Humanities
Abstract
Mathematical models are a well established tool in most natural sciences. Although models have been neglected by the philosophy of science for a long time, their epistemological status as a link between theory and reality is now fairly well understood. However, regarding the epistemological status of mathematical models in the social sciences, there still exists a considerable unclarity. In my paper I argue that this results from specific challenges that mathematical models and especially computer simulations face in the social sciences. The most important difference between the social sciences and the natural sciences with respect to modeling is that in the social sciences powerful and well confirmed background theories (like Newtonian mechanics, quantum mechanics or the theory of relativity in physics) do not exist in the social sciences. Therefore, an epistemology of models that is formed on the role model of physics may not be appropriate for the social sciences. I discuss the challenges that modeling faces in the social sciences and point out their epistemological consequences. The most important consequences are that greater emphasis must be placed on empirical validation than on theoretical validation and that the relevance of purely theoretical simulations is strongly limited.
Keywords Computer Simulations  Social Simulations  Epistemology of Simulations
Categories (categorize this paper)
Reprint years 2010
Options
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

PhilArchive copy

 PhilArchive page | Other versions
Through your library

References found in this work BETA

Galilean Idealization.Ernan McMullin - 1985 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 16 (3):247.

View all 28 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

No citations found.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Analytics

Added to PP index
2010-06-19

Total views
200 ( #59,130 of 2,519,857 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
11 ( #66,568 of 2,519,857 )

How can I increase my downloads?

Downloads

My notes