Contemporary debates in philosophy of science

Speaker: Sherrilyn Roush (KCL)

Title: The Epistemic Superiority of Experiment to Simulation

Abstract: I defend the naïve thesis that the method of experiment has per se an epistemic superiority over the method of computer simulation, a view that has been rejected by some philosophers writing about simulation, and whose grounds have been hard to pin down by its defenders. I further argue that this superiority does not depend on the experiment’s object being materially similar to the target in the world that the investigator is trying to learn about, as both sides of dispute over the epistemic superiority thesis have assumed. The superiority depends on features of the question and on a property of natural kinds that has been mistaken for material similarity. Awareness of this superiority and of the general distinction between experiment and simulation is, I argue, important for maintaining motivation to seek answers to new questions.


The seminars are organised by the philosophy of science research group. For more information or to find out about future events, please contact Dr Alistair Isaac.

Dr Alistair Isaac

Philosophy of science research group

Mar 09 2017 -

Contemporary debates in philosophy of science

09 Mar 2017: The Epistemic Superiority of Experiment to Simulation

Room 2.13, Old Infirmary Building (Geography), 1 Drummond Street, Edinburgh, EH8 9XP