Computing the uncomputable; or, The discrete charm of second-order simulacra

Synthese 169 (3):447-463 (2009)
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We examine a case in which non-computable behavior in a model is revealed by computer simulation. This is possible due to differing notions of computability for sets in a continuous space. The argument originally given for the validity of the simulation involves a simpler simulation of the simulation, still further simulations thereof, and a universality conjecture. There are difficulties with that argument, but there are other, heuristic arguments supporting the qualitative results. It is urged, using this example, that absolute validation, while highly desirable, is overvalued. Simulations also provide valuable insights that we cannot yet (if ever) prove.



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Matthew Parker
London School of Economics

Citations of this work

The philosophy of computer science.Raymond Turner - 2013 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.

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