Epistemological Perspectives on Simulation

Call for papers

III Edition of
Epistemological Perspectives on Simulation - A Cross-Disciplinary Workshop

October 2-3, 2008
Lisbon University Institute - ISCTE, Portugal


The methodological role and epistemological status of simulation merits more attention from researchers across the social, natural, and computational sciences, as well as from philosophers of science. While the epistemological status of simulation has received considerable interest from the natural sciences since the 1990s, it seems to have emerged in the social sciences only in the last five years due to the increasing use of simulation in concrete problems and public policy, across a variety of fields, and its crucial role for theorizing, modelling, and understanding social complexity. The interest in the methodological role of simulation, from the social to the natural sciences, shows that simulation is becoming a discipline spanning a number of fields, with its own dilemmas, methods and techniques, its own influence on society, and its own contribution to knowledge and critical thinking. We are convinced that discussing the epistemological status of simulation in a cross-disciplinary setting contributes to a deeper understanding of issues relevant to the practical use of simulation, as well as to the development of mature theories of simulation in the philosophy of science.

Important dates

May 1 – Submission of papers or extended abstracts
June 15 – Notification of acceptance
August 31 – Receipt of full papers
October 2-3 – Workshop, Lisbon, Portugal


Topics to be addressed in the workshop include, but are not restricted to, questions or issues such as:

The epistemology of simulation:
- How do simulations relate to the actual world?
- How does simulation produce knowledge? What kinds of knowledge are involved in simulation?
- What is the relation between theory and simulation?
- Are there methodological and epistemological features in common with experimentation?
- Similarities and differences between modelling natural and social complexity.
- Theories of explanation in simulation.
- Theories of emergence in simulation.

Established credentials for model building:
- Lessons learned from deploying simulations.
- What kind of research questions can be addressed by simulation?
- How can simulations and other research methods be integrated?
- Validation and verification strategies (e.g. stylized facts, statistical signatures, validation with stakeholders, etc.)
- Methodological and epistemological roles of “empirical validation” in simulation
- The role of interpretation and consensus, e.g in participative-based simulations
- How do simulation models become sanctioned: how is the credibility of a model assessed? Is there a role for “common protocols” in peer-reviewing simulation models?

Other topics:
- New theories of computation and its relation to simulation
- Is the classical Church-Turing computation theory an adequate model to explain the kind of reasoning underlying social simulation?
- What is the role of sophisticated visualisation techniques? (e.g. “mimetic” expressions of reality with graphical user interfaces?)
- The role of output graphing and images in simulation. Is there a role for aesthetics in simulating social complexity?
- Terminological issues
- Historical perspectives of simulation
- Pedagogy and Epistemology: What opportunities and challenges?
- Professional ethics and simulation.


Prospective authors are requested to send either extended abstracts (about 1,000 words) or papers (about 5,000-8,000 words), to Nuno.David@iscte.pt by 1st of May 2008. Authors should include all the details about surname, first name, affiliation, mailing address, country, and e-mail inside the e-mail text (but not inside the abstract or paper). Each contribution will be reviewed by the program committee, according to a blind reviewing process.


Following the tradition of the previous EPOS workshops, we intend to publish revised and extended versions of the accepted papers in a post-proceedings volume. The revised versions will take into account the discussion held during the workshop, hence, only those papers that are presented during the workshop will be considered for inclusion in a post-proceedings volume. In 2004 the results of the meeting were collected by Troitzsch and Frank, and published, after a further reviewing process, in a special issue of the Journal of Artificial Societies and Social Simulation (volume 8(4), 2005). In 2006 the articles were collected by Squazzoni, Troitzsch, and Frank after a further reviewing process, and are expected to be published in a post-proceedings volume in 2008.

Program Committee

Alex Smajgl, CSIRO Sustainable Ecosystems - Australia
Alexis Drogoul, Pôle Intelligence Artificielle, Paris VI - France
Camile Roth, Department of Sociology of the University of Surrey - France/UK
Carlos Gershenson, Center Leo Apostel for Interdisciplinary Studies - Belgium
Edmund Chattoe, Department of Sociology, University of Oxford - UK
Flaminio Squazzoni, Department of Social Sciences, University of Brescia - Italy
Frédéric Amblard, Université Toulouse 1 Sciences Sociales - France
Helder Coelho, Department of Informatics, University of Lisbon - Portugal
Jaime Simão Sichman, University of São Paulo - Brazil
Johannes Lenhard, Center for Interdisciplinary Research, Universität Bielefeld - Germany
José Castro Caldas, Center for Social Studies, University of Coimbra - Portugal
Keith Sawyer, Deparment of Education, Washington University in St. Louis - USA
Klaus G. Troitzsch, Universität Koblenz-Landau - Germany
László Gulyás, Hungarian Academy of Science - Hungary
Matteo Richiardi, LABORatorio Riccardo Revelli, Centre for Employment Studies - Italy
Nick Gotts, The Macaulay Institute, Aberdeen, Scotland - UK
Nicole Saam, Universität Erfurt, Faculty of Economics, Law, and Social Sciences - Germany
Nigel Gilbert, Department of Sociology, University of Surrey - UK
Nuno David, Lisbon University Institute, ISCTE - Portugal
Olga Pombo, Center for the Philosophy of Sciences, University of Lisbon - Portugal
Petra Ahrweiler, National Institute of Technology Management, University College Dublin, Ireland
Pierre Livet, Département de Philosophie, Université de Provence - France
Pietro Terna, Facoltà di Economia - Università di Torino - Italy
Riccardo Boero, University of Torino - Italy
Rosaria Conte, Istituto di Psicologia del CNR - Italy
Scott Moss, Centre for Policy Modelling, Manchester Metropolitan University Business School - UK
Ulrich Frank, Duisburg-Essen University - Germany
Wander Jager, University of Groningeng - Netherlands


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