Historical Social Research

Manuela Fernández Pinto & Daniel Fernández Pinto: Epistemic Landscapes Reloaded: An Examination of Agent-Based Models in Social Epistemology. [Abstract]

Weisberg and Muldoon’s epistemic landscape model (ELM) has been one of the most significant contributions to the use of agent-based models in philosophy. The model provides an innovative approach to establishing the optimal distribution of cognitive labor in scientific communities, using an epistemic landscape. In the paper, we provide a critical examination of ELM. First, we show that the computing mechanism for ELM is correct insofar as we are able to replicate the results using another programming language. Second, we show that small changes in the rules that determine the behavior of individual agents can lead to important changes in simulation results. Accordingly, we claim that ELM results are robust with respect to the computing mechanism, but not necessarily across parameter space. We conclude by reflecting on the possible lessons to be gained from ELM as a class of simulations or cluster of models.

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