Senior Research Fellow

Prof. Dr. phil. nat. Johannes Lenhard

Heisenberg Professorship Philosophy in Science and Engineering
Laboratory of Engineering Thermodynamics
RPTU Kaiserslautern
Erwin-Schrödinger-Straße 44
Building 44/411
67663 Kaiserslautern
Phone.: +49(0)631 205-4798
E-Mail: johannes.lenhard(at)


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Research Focus

I am a philosopher and my DFG-funded research project allowes me to turn philosophy of science into philosophy in science.

Project: Measuring the Unmeasurable. Trust, Validation, and the Social Organization of Science (2020-2023)

Computer simulation has become a standard instrument in science and engineering. Simulation models help to fit theories into concrete contexts of application. These models are famous for their adjustability and can accommodate large amounts of data. The most interesting cases are those in which simulations do not merely reproduce known data or phenomena but advance into the empirically unknown where data for comparison are not available. There are many cases in which experimental evidence cannot be obtained, but models can be used for predictions. In such cases, simulation is used for what is called here "measuring the unmeasurable." Starting from this observation, the main research questions are how simulation models are validated and how trust in them is created, maintained, and justified. The project addresses these questions in an empirical (about actual practices) and a normative sense (about justification). It is structured by three interconnected dimensions: epistemology, methodology, and institutional organization. The project leaves beaten pathways because it examines cases from the engineering sciences where models have to perform in given (not idealized) contexts and because it embeds philosophical research in science and engineering.

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