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Simulating What?

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Any attempt to simulate science has first to say what science is. This involves asking three questions: 1) The Scope Question: What bit of science is the target? It is immensely confusing (as the history of these debates shows), if one simulates some little aspect of science, as in the case of BACON, and then claims that one has built a machine that can 'do science'. 2) The Micro-World Question: Is the criterion of success the reproduction of human science – with all the same findings turning up – or the simulation of something that is believed to be a scientific process with results that pertain only to the world of the simulation which do not correspond to the outcome of human science as we know it? If the latter it will be important to be sure that one is not merely developing a 'micro-world' – a world so tidied up for the purposes of simulation that it does not bear on human science. 3) The Chess Question: Even if the idea to reach the same results as has been reached by human science, does it have to be by 'the same' means in order to count as a simulation of human science? I call it the 'chess question' because Deep Blue does not play in the same way as human grand masters but is still better at winning.

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  • Harry Collins, 2011. "Simulating What?," Journal of Artificial Societies and Social Simulation, Journal of Artificial Societies and Social Simulation, vol. 14(4), pages 1-16.
  • Handle: RePEc:jas:jasssj:2011-72-2
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    File URL: http://jasss.soc.surrey.ac.uk/14/4/16/16.pdf
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    1. Vijay Mahajan & Eitan Muller & Frank M. Bass, 1995. "Diffusion of New Products: Empirical Generalizations and Managerial Uses," Marketing Science, INFORMS, vol. 14(3_supplem), pages 79-88.
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    Keywords

    Science; Language; Demarcation; Micro-World; BACON; Chess;

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