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Computer Simulation in the Physical Sciences

Fritz Rohrlich
PSA: Proceedings of the Biennial Meeting of the Philosophy of Science Association
Vol. 1990, Volume Two: Symposia and Invited Papers (1990), pp. 507-518
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/193094
Page Count: 12
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Computer Simulation in the Physical Sciences
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Abstract

Computer simulation is shown to be philosophically interesting because it introduces a qualitatively new methodology for theory construction in science different from the conventional two components of "theory" and "experiment and/or observation". This component is "experimentation with theoretical models." Two examples from the physical sciences are presented for the purpose of demonstration but it is claimed that the biological and social sciences permit similar theoretical model experiments. Furthermore, computer simulation permits theoretical models for the evolution of physical systems which use cellular automata rather than differential equations as their syntax. The great advantages of the former are indicated.

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