EPOS: Epistemological Aspects of Computer Simulation in the Social Sciences



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Event When Where Deadline
EPOS 2008 Epistemological Perspectives on Simulation - III Edition - A Cross-Disciplinary Workshop
Oct 2, 2008 - Oct 3, 2008 Lisbon, Portugal May 1, 2008

Present CFP : 2008

The methodological role and epistemological status of simulation merits more attention from researchers across the social, natural, and computational sciences, as well as from philosophers of science. While the epistemological status of simulation has received considerable interest from the natural sciences since the 1990s, it seems to have emerged in the social sciences only in the last five years due to the increasing use of simulation in concrete problems and public policy, across a variety of fields, and its crucial role for theorizing, modelling, and understanding social complexity. The interest in the methodological role of simulation, from the social to the natural sciences, shows that simulation is becoming a discipline spanning a number of fields, with its own dilemmas, methods and techniques, its own influence on society, and its own contribution to knowledge and critical thinking. We are convinced that discussing the epistemological status of simulation in a cross-disciplinary setting contributes to a deeper understanding of issues relevant to the practical use of simulation, as well as to the development of mature theories of simulation in the philosophy of science.


Topics to be addressed in the workshop include, but are not restricted to, questions or issues such as:

The epistemology of simulation:

- How do simulations relate to the actual world?
- How does simulation produce knowledge? What kinds of knowledge are involved in simulation?
- What is the relation between theory and simulation?
- Are there methodological and epistemological features in common with experimentation?
- Similarities and differences between modelling natural and social complexity.
- Theories of explanation in simulation.
- Theories of emergence in simulation.

Established credentials for model building:

- Lessons learned from deploying simulations.
- What kind of research questions can be addressed by simulation?
- How can simulations and other research methods be integrated?
- Validation and verification strategies (e.g. stylized facts, statistical signatures, validation with stakeholders, etc.)
- Methodological and epistemological roles of ‚??empirical validation‚?? in simulation
- The role of interpretation and consensus, e.g in participative-based simulations
- How do simulation models become sanctioned: how is the credibility of a model assessed? Is there a role for ‚??common protocols‚?? in peer-reviewing simulation models?

Other topics:

- New theories of computation and its relation to simulation
- Is the classical Church-Turing computation theory an adequate model to explain the kind of reasoning underlying social simulation?
- What is the role of sophisticated visualisation techniques? (e.g. ‚??mimetic‚?? expressions of reality with graphical user interfaces?)
- The role of output graphing and images in simulation. Is there a role for aesthetics in simulating social complexity?
- Terminological issues
- Historical perspectives of simulation
- Pedagogy and Epistemology: What opportunities and challenges?
- Professional ethics and simulation.

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