PSA2016: The 25th Biennial Meeting of the Philosophy of Science Association

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Simplicity and simplifications in astrophysical modelling

Today in times of ever growing computing capacities, astrophysical models often exhibit great complexity, incorporating empirical parametrizations of processes that are yet too complex to be included in their analytic formulation. In comparison, simple models are often seen as born out of necessity due to a lack of computing power, not well suited for a use in actual research. I will use the example of the numerical modelling of interstellar shocks to contrast both approaches and evaluate their respective epistemic properties. In particular, I will argue for the importance and epistemic independence of simple models in astrophysics.

Author Information:

Sibylle Anderl    
Institut de Plan├ętologie et d'Astrophysique de Grenoble (IPAG)


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