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The results of the tournaments and simulations led to a generalized theory of the evolution of cooperation, which claims to provide an explanation for various historical, social and biological phenomena. Axelro&dgrave;s work contributed extensively to popularizing computer simulation as a scientific method in the social sciences. Besides the fact that his approach had an unquestionably high impact on succeeding research and ushered in the "simulation era" in the social sciences, the use Axelrod made of computer simulations raises questions about their methodological and epistemological status: If, as Axelrod states in his paper "Advancing the Art of
Simulation in the Social Sciences", simulation can serve the purposes of prediction, proof and even scientific discovery, what need is there for conducting experiments any longer? Can't we simulate science?
Admittedly, this suggestion sounds somewhat exaggerated, but why exactly do most of us share the intuition that there are fundamental differences persisting between simulations and experiments? What are the characteristic features distinguishing them? Do computer simulations in general - and