Computer Simulations, Idealizations and Approximations

PSA: Proceedings of the Biennial Meeting of the Philosophy of Science Association 1990:519 - 534 (1990)
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Abstract

It's uncontroversial that notions of idealization and approximation are central to understanding computer simulations and their rationale. What's not so clear is what exactly these notions come to. Two distinct forms of approximation will be distinguished and their features contrasted with those of idealizations. These distinctions will be refined and closely tied to computer simulations by means of Scott-Strachey denotational programming semantics. The use of this sort of semantics also provides a convenient format for argumentation in favor of several theses I shall propose concerning the role computer implemented approximations and idealizations play in fixing what the acceptance of an underlying scientific theory is or should be.

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Ronald Laymon
Ohio State University

Citations of this work

Talk About Toy Models.Joshua Luczak - 2017 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part B: Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics 57:1-7.
Approximations, Idealizations and 'Experiments' at the Physics-Biology Interface.Darrell Patrick Rowbottom - 2008 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences 42 (2):145-154.
Approximations, Idealizations and ‘Experiments’ at the Physics–Biology Interface.Darrell Patrick Rowbottom - 2008 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C: Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences 42 (2):145-154.
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