Exploring scientific inquiry via agent-based modelling

Dunja Šešelja (Corresponding author)

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6 Citations (Scopus)


In this paper I examine the epistemic function of agent-based models (ABMs) of scientific inquiry, proposed in the recent philosophical literature. In view of Boero and Squazzoni’s (2005) classification of ABMs into case-based models, typifications and theoretical abstractions, I argue that proposed ABMs of scientific inquiry largely belong to the last category. While this means that their function is primarily exploratory, I suggest that they are epistemically valuable not only as a temporary stage in the development of ABMs of science, but by providing insights into theoretical aspects of scientific rationality. I illustrate my point with two examples of highly idealized ABMs of science, which perform two exploratory functions: Zollman’s (2010) ABM which provides a proof-of-possibility in the realm of theoretical discussions on scientific rationality, and an argumentationbased ABM (Borg et al., 2019, 2017b, 2018), which provides insights into potential mechanisms underlying the efficiency of scientific inquiry.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)537-557
Number of pages21
JournalPerspectives on Science
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 20 Aug 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The research for this paper has been funded by the German Research Foundation (DFG) - project number 426833574


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