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1 Why Monte Carlo Simulations are Inferences and not Experiments

By Claus Beisbart and John D. Norton

Abstract

currently under review 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. 2 1

Year: 2012
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