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CSS Colloquium - Michela Massimi: Simulating and Experimenting

The Case of the Higgs Boson

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mandag 26. maj 2014,  kl. 10:15 - 12:00



Simulating and Experimenting. The Case of the Higgs Boson

Michela Massimi, School of Philosophy, Psychology and Language Sciences, The University of Edinburgh

In recent years, philosophers of science have been debating the epistemological status of computer simulations. Are computer simulations analogous to ordinary experiments? Critics have stressed the relevant epistemic dissimilarities between the two, while other philosophers have insisted on the continuity between simulations and experiments. In this paper (which is based on a jointly authored paper with the physicist Wahid Bhimji), we concentrate on one particular argument against the analogy between simulations and experiments: namely, what we call the causal interaction claim, following Giere (2009) and Morrison (2009). We look at the use of computer simulations in the Higgs case to conclude that after all, simulations seem to meet the epistemic criteria of ordinary experiments in this case.