PhilSci Archive

Why Monte Carlo Simulations are Inferences and not Experiments

Beisbart, Claus and Norton, John D. (2012) Why Monte Carlo Simulations are Inferences and not Experiments. [Preprint]


Download (577kB)


Monte Carlo Simulations arrive at their results by introducing randomness, sometimes derived from a physical randomizing device. Nonetheless, we argue, they open no new epistemic channels beyond that already employed by traditional simulations: the inference by ordinary argumentation of conclusions from assumptions built into the simulations. We show that Monte Carlo simulations cannot produce knowledge other than by inference; and that they resemble other computer simulations in the manner in which they derive their conclusions. Simple examples of Monte Carlo simulations are analyzed to identify the underlying inferences.

Export/Citation: EndNote | BibTeX | Dublin Core | ASCII/Text Citation (Chicago) | HTML Citation | OpenURL
Social Networking:
Share |

Item Type: Preprint
Beisbart, Claus
Norton, John D.
Keywords: Monte Carlo method, computer simulations, inference, experiment, randomness
Subjects: General Issues > Confirmation/Induction
General Issues > Experimentation
Depositing User: Claus Beisbart
Date Deposited: 17 Jul 2012 06:03
Last Modified: 17 Jul 2012 06:03
Item ID: 9238

Monthly Views for the past 3 years

Monthly Downloads for the past 3 years

Plum Analytics

Actions (login required)

View Item View Item