The focus of this paper is the process of knowledge acquisition (KA) and which role virtuality plays in this context. We argue that there are three different modes of knowledge acquisition which can be identified both in the domains of cognition and science: the empirical, the “constructive”, and the “synthetic” mode. We show that the method of constructing knowledge in the virtual domain (i.e., the synthetic mode of KA) is not only a principal mode of KA in our cognition (e.g., thought experiments, making plans, etc.). It becomes increasingly important in the field of (natural) science in the form of simulations and virtual experiments. The attempt to find an answer to the question of whether simulation can be an information source for science, and to validate the computational approach in science, leads to a new interpretation of the nature of virtual models. This new perspective renders the problem of “feature extraction” obsolete.
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