Are experiments better than models? (Video) Event as iCalendar


25 October 2016

4 - 5pm

Venue: Ground Floor Seminar Room (G10)

Location: 70 Symonds St, Auckland Central

Portrait of Professor Emily Parke

An ABI seminar by Dr. Emily Parke, Department of Philosophy, University of Auckland.


Experiments are commonly thought to be better sources of scientific knowledge than models and simulations. This judgment often rests on intuitions about experiments getting scientists “closer to the natural world” than models. I examine and criticise several arguments for the superiority of experiments over models. These arguments rely on problematic ways of distinguishing experiments from models; I discuss cases from experimental evolution which undermine those distinctions. Classifying a case of research as experimenting versus modelling does not license automatic conclusions about the value of what we can learn from it. Instead, we should focus on the extent to which the object of study in question (whether it was a model or an experimental system) corresponds in the right way to the relevant target of inquiry in the natural world.