Philosophy and Epistemology of Computational Science


#1

With the ongoing development to support scientific work with computational means the need to have a serious discussion on the epistemology of computational science and their place in the philosophy of science becomes pivotal for organizations like ACM. Some excellent work has been contributed so far from philosophers like Paul Humphrey in his book “Extending ourselves:Computational Science, Empiricism, and Scientific Method.” A little primer I wrote in support of my students was adapted for a book recently and has been published as " Learning Something Right from Models That Are Wrong: Epistemology of Simulation." Having this knowledge is pivotal for ACM professionals, as this will allow them to understand the assumptions and constraints of validity for our solutions. If we don’t provide them, who else should do this?


#2

Getting IT people to understand empiricism and scientific method would be a great step forward. However understanding and accepting the users perspective is also vital if IT is to maximise its contribution to the world.
As an engineer I have found IT people unhelpfull and controlling to the extent I have had to climb into the IT world myself restricting the time I could spend on my engineering activities. I regret having to use these words but I can find no other way of communicating what I believe is a very important message.

The IT world is lead by powerful players who are playing to maintain their positions even though it is limiting IT. Fortunately there is open source activity but not enough to put the monopolists in place.