Les simulations computationnelles dans les sciences sociales

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Since the 1990’s, social sciences are living their computational turn. This paper aims to clarify the epistemological meaning of this turn. To do this, we have to discriminate between different epistemic functions of computation among the diverse uses of computers for modeling and simulating in the social sciences. Because of the introduction of a new – and often more user-friendly – way of formalizing and computing, the question of realism of formalisms and of proof value of computational treatments reemerges. Facing the spreading of computational simulations in all disciplines, some enthusiastic observers are claiming that we are entering a new era of unity for social sciences. Finally, the article shows that the conceptual and epistemological distinctions presented in the first sections lead to a more mitigated position: the transdisciplinary computational turn is a great one, but it is of a methodological nature.
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Archival date: 2015-11-21
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