Behavioral and Brain Sciences

Short Communication

Programs, models, theories, and reality

Robert I. Damper a1
a1 Department of Electronics and Computer Science, University of Southampton, Southampton SO17 1BJ, United Kingdom


The question “Are ‘biorobots' good models of biological behaviour?” can be seen as a specific instance of a more general question about the relation between computer programs and models, between models and theories, and between theories and reality. This commentary develops a personal view of these relations, from an antirealism perspective. Programs, models, theories and reality are separate and distinct entities which may converge in particular cases but should never be confused.