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Call for abstracts

Thought Experiments and Computer Simulations: Same End, Different Means?
International Workshop, 11-13 March 2010
IHPST, Paris, France

Scientific committee :

Anouk Barberousse (IHPST/CNRS/ENS)

Rawad El Skaf (IHPST/Paris 1)

Paul Humphreys ( University of Virginia, Department of Philosophy)

John Norton ( Pittsburgh University, Center for Philosophy of Science)

Whereas thought experiments have long been a common practice in science and an important topic of philosophical analysis, the recent development of computer simulation has not yet paid much philosophical attention to simulations in relation to thought experiments. Conceptual investigation has focused on the links between thought experiments and experiments on the one hand and computer simulation and experiments on the other. However, striking similarities between thought experiments and computer simulations can be found. They are both used when experiments cannot be made. More generally, both are instrumental in answering questions of the type: “What would happen if X or Y were the case?” and in exploring the explanatory potential of theories.

The workshop aims to further investigate the relationships between thought experiments and computer simulation. A major question to be addressed will be whether computer simulations can be viewed as implemented thought experiments, at least in certain cases. The workshop is open both to case studies and to general considerations comparing computer simulations and thought experiments in all disciplines. While physics is undoubtedly an ideal forum for these investigations, talks devoted to fields in which theories play a weaker or different role, like economics, biology or artificial life, are especially welcomed.

Abstracts (1000 words) should be sent to  anouk.barberousse@gmail.com by October 1, 2009.

The workshop language is English.

Important dates

- Submission deadline 1 st October 2009

- Notification about acceptance: 1 st November 2010

- Workshop: 11-13 March 2010

Revised 7/20/09 - Copyright 2009