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[ATHENA] (rappel) Cyrille Imbert et Mauricio Suárez (visio), mardi 22 juin, 14:00 - 17:00

Chronological Thread  
  • From: Franck Varenne <varenne.franck AT>
  • Subject: [ATHENA] (rappel) Cyrille Imbert et Mauricio Suárez (visio), mardi 22 juin, 14:00 - 17:00
  • Date: Tue, 22 Jun 2021 10:11:22 +0200

Chères et chers collègues,

Le séminaire de l'IHPST sur l'épistémologie des modèles organise une séance spéciale ce mardi 22 juin de 14h à 17h au cours de laquelle nous aurons le plaisir d'écouter Mauricio Suárez (Universidad Complutense de Madrid) et Cyrille Imbert (CNRS - Archives Poincaré). 

La séance se tiendra en visioconférence. Voici le lien Zoom:
ID de réunion : 979 1517 9794
Code secret : 209353

Voici ci-dessous les titres et résumés des communications :

14:00 - 15:30 - Mauricio Suárez (Universidad Complutense de Madrid)

The Complex Nexus of Evolutionary Fitness

The propensity nature of evolutionary fitness has long been appreciated and is nowadays amply discussed (Abrams, 2009, 2012; Ariew and Ernst, 2009; Ariew and Lewontin, 2004; Beatty and Finsen, 1989; Brandon, 1978; Drouet and Merlin, 2015; Mills and Beatty, 1979; Millstein, 2003, 2016; Pence and Ramsey, 2013; Sober, 1984, 2001, 2013, 2019; Walsh, 2010; Walsh, Ariew, Mahen, 2016; etc). The discussion has, however, on occasion followed long standing conflations in the philosophy of probability between propensities, probabilities, and frequencies. In this article, I apply a more recent conception of propensities in modelling practice (the ‘complex nexus of chance’, CNC) to some key issues, regarding whether and how fitness is explanatory, and how it ought to be represented mathematically. The ensuing complex nexus of fitness (CNF) emphasises the distinction between biological propensities and the probability distributions over offspring numbers that they give rise to; and how critical it is to distinguish the possession conditions of the underlying dispositional (physical and biological) properties from those of their probabilistic manifestations.

15:30 - 17:00 Cyrille Imbert (CNRS - Archives Poincaré)

Watch out for ill-conceptualized maps: simulations as a secondary, neutral, heterogeneous source of knowledge

Whereas philosophers of science have analyzed computer simulations for more than three decades, their epistemological status and how they relate to other sources of knowledge remain
unclear. Because simulations do not square well with the traditional division between experimental and theoretical activities, early analysts suggested that they occupy some space in-between theories and experiments. Nevertheless, as Frigg and Reiss (2009) emphasized, it is hard to make clear sense of this idea of in-betweenness. In the present paper, I propose to pursue a methodological stance pioneered by Mary Morgan (2000) within her investigation of "hybrid cases." I adopt a conceptual framework in terms of epistemic sources developed by Robert Audi in epistemology, e.g. to analyze testimony. Then, I investigate more systematically how other sources of knowledge can feed simulations. Because the theoretical side is not much of a problem, I focus on how much simulations can be fed by empirical sources and present rare and hybrid specimens to explore the epistemological space simulations may occupy.

The upshot is that, as secondary sources of knowledge, simulations can be fed almost entirely by various sources, provided that these provide the information requested to build-up full-blown computational models. This suggests describing simulations as a (secondary) source of knowledge that is neutral concerning the epistemological types of information that it can process. This also explains why particular token simulations can be so epistemologically heterogeneous. For example, when simulations are fueled empirically (resp. theoretically), one should conclude that they provide derived empirical (resp. theoretical) knowledge. If this is so, trying to locate simulations as a general type of activity somewhere on an epistemological map is a mistake. Because simulations, as a type, are neutral concerning their sources, token simulations can be virtually anywhere on the multi-dimensional map of the epistemological sources that can feed secondary sources of knowledge.


Vincent Ardourel ( vincent.ardourel AT
Franck Varenne (franck.varenne AT

  • [ATHENA] (rappel) Cyrille Imbert et Mauricio Suárez (visio), mardi 22 juin, 14:00 - 17:00, Franck Varenne, 06/22/2021

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