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Levins and the legitimacy of artificial worlds

Levins and the legitimacy of artificial worlds
Levins and the legitimacy of artificial worlds
For practitioners across a growing number of academic disciplines there is a strong sense that simulation models of complex realworld systems provide something that differs fundamentally from that which is offered by mathematical models of the same phenomena. The precise nature of this difference has been difficult to isolate and explain, but, occasionally, it is cashed out in terms of an ability to use simulations to perform “experiments”, e.g., [9]. The notion here is that empirical data derived from costly experiments in the real world might usefully be augmented with data harvested from the right kind of simulation models. We will reserve the term “artificial worlds” for such simulations. In this paper, rather than tackle the problems inherent in this type of claim head on, we will approach them obliquely by asking: what is the root of the attraction of constructing and exploring artificial worlds? By combining insights drawn from the work of Levins, Braitenberg, and Clark, we arrive at an answer that at least partially legitimises artificial worlds by allocating them a useful scientific role, without having to assign the status of empirical enquiry to their exploration.
Bullock, Seth
2ad576e4-56b8-4f31-84e0-51bd0b7a1cd3
Silverman, Eric
791daf25-5b42-49c7-99be-359271692c30
David, Nuno
2436ab80-e784-4af9-8f4d-a4499af69417
Bullock, Seth
2ad576e4-56b8-4f31-84e0-51bd0b7a1cd3
Silverman, Eric
791daf25-5b42-49c7-99be-359271692c30
David, Nuno
2436ab80-e784-4af9-8f4d-a4499af69417

Bullock, Seth and Silverman, Eric (2008) Levins and the legitimacy of artificial worlds. David, Nuno (ed.) Third Workshop on Epistemological Perspectives on Simulation, Portugal. 02 - 03 Oct 2008.

Record type: Conference or Workshop Item (Other)

Abstract

For practitioners across a growing number of academic disciplines there is a strong sense that simulation models of complex realworld systems provide something that differs fundamentally from that which is offered by mathematical models of the same phenomena. The precise nature of this difference has been difficult to isolate and explain, but, occasionally, it is cashed out in terms of an ability to use simulations to perform “experiments”, e.g., [9]. The notion here is that empirical data derived from costly experiments in the real world might usefully be augmented with data harvested from the right kind of simulation models. We will reserve the term “artificial worlds” for such simulations. In this paper, rather than tackle the problems inherent in this type of claim head on, we will approach them obliquely by asking: what is the root of the attraction of constructing and exploring artificial worlds? By combining insights drawn from the work of Levins, Braitenberg, and Clark, we arrive at an answer that at least partially legitimises artificial worlds by allocating them a useful scientific role, without having to assign the status of empirical enquiry to their exploration.

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Published date: 2008
Additional Information: Event Dates: October 2-3
Venue - Dates: Third Workshop on Epistemological Perspectives on Simulation, Portugal, 2008-10-02 - 2008-10-03
Organisations: Agents, Interactions & Complexity

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 266778
URI: https://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/266778
PURE UUID: 90292674-d3c6-4928-9d02-7c5f5364540b

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Date deposited: 12 Oct 2008 20:59
Last modified: 18 Jul 2017 07:12

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