What Does Emergence in Computer Simulations? Simulation between Epistemological and Ontological Emergence

  • Alex Schmid
Conference paper
Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNCS, volume 5466)


Emergence is generally considered a fundamental property of complex systems. Being a central but notoriously ill defined notion, concepts of emergence fundamentally oscillate between epistemological and ontological interpretations. The paper relates these philosophical perspectives of emergence to the interpretation of emergence in computer simulation. It concludes that most arguments point to the fact that computer simulation deals with epistemological emergence only. However, there is no conclusive argument that computer simulation in principle is unable to model ontological emergence. Finally, the paper argues for mathematics being a restricted description what concerns all possible emergent levels not yet realised.


Computer simulations emergence ontological and epistemological emergence 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Alex Schmid
    • 1
  1. 1.Savannah Simulations AGHerrlibergSwitzerland

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