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  1. Viewing-as Explanations and Ontic Dependence.William D’Alessandro - 2020 - Philosophical Studies 177 (3):769-792.
    According to a widespread view in metaphysics and philosophy of science, all explanations involve relations of ontic dependence between the items appearing in the explanandum and the items appearing in the explanans. I argue that a family of mathematical cases, which I call “viewing-as explanations”, are incompatible with the Dependence Thesis. These cases, I claim, feature genuine explanations that aren’t supported by ontic dependence relations. Hence the thesis isn’t true in general. The first part of the paper defends this claim (...)
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  • Idealizations and Understanding: Much Ado About Nothing?Emily Sullivan & Kareem Khalifa - 2019 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 97 (4):673-689.
    Because idealizations frequently advance scientific understanding, many claim that falsehoods play an epistemic role. In this paper, we argue that these positions greatly overstate idealiza...
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  • Ontic Explanation Is Either Ontic or Explanatory, but Not Both.Cory Wright & Dingmar van Eck - 2018 - Ergo: An Open Access Journal of Philosophy 5:997–1029.
    What features will something have if it counts as an explanation? And will something count as an explanation if it has those features? In the second half of the 20th century, philosophers of science set for themselves the task of answering such questions, just as a priori conceptual analysis was generally falling out of favor. And as it did, most philosophers of science just moved on to more manageable questions about the varieties of explanation and discipline-specific scientific explanation. Often, such (...)
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  • Scientific Understanding and Felicitous Legitimate Falsehoods.Insa Lawler - forthcoming - Synthese:1-29.
    Science is replete with falsehoods that epistemically facilitate understanding by virtue of being the very falsehoods they are. In view of this puzzling fact, some have relaxed the truth requirement on understanding. I offer a factive view of understanding that fully accommodates the puzzling fact in four steps: (i) I argue that the question how these falsehoods are related to the phenomenon to be understood and the question how they figure into the content of understanding it are independent. (ii) I (...)
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  • Idealization and the Ontic Conception: A Reply to Bokulich.Carl F. Craver - 2019 - The Monist 102 (4):525-530.
    In a recent issue of The Monist, Alisa Bokulich argues that those who embrace an ontic conception of scientific explanation are committed to rejecting an explanatory role for idealized, i.e., deliberately false, models. Her argument is based on an inaccurate characterization of the ontic view. Indeed, her positive view of idealization embraces rather than opposes the ontic conception. Because Bokulich is not alone in this misunderstanding, an effort to diagnose and correct it might prevent scholars from talking past one another (...)
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  • The Nature of Model-World Comparisons.Fiora Salis - 2016 - The Monist 99 (3):243-259.
    Upholders of fictionalism about scientific models have not yet successfully explained how scientists can learn about the real world by making comparisons between models and the real phenomena they stand for. In this paper I develop an account of model-world comparisons in terms of what I take to be the best antirealist analyses of comparative claims that emerge from the current debate on fiction.
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  • Realism and Explanatory Perspectivism.Juha Saatsi - forthcoming - In Michela Massimi & C. D. McCoy (eds.), Understanding Perspectivism: Scientific Challenges and Methodological Prospects. New York: Routledge.
    This chapter defends a (minimal) realist conception of progress in scientific understanding in the face of the ubiquitous plurality of perspectives in science. The argument turns on the counterfactual-dependence framework of explanation and understanding, which is illustrated and evidenced with reference to different explanations of the rainbow.
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  • The Economy of Nature: The Structure of Evolution in Linnaeus, Darwin, and the Modern Synthesis.Charles H. Pence & Daniel G. Swaim - 2017 - European Journal for Philosophy of Science 8 (3):435-454.
    We argue that the economy of nature constitutes an invocation of structure in the biological sciences, one largely missed by philosophers of biology despite the turn in recent years toward structural explanations throughout the philosophy of science. We trace a portion of the history of this concept, beginning with the theologically and economically grounded work of Linnaeus, moving through Darwin’s adaptation of the economy of nature and its reconstitution in genetic terms during the first decades of the Modern Synthesis. What (...)
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  • Two Kinds of Exploratory Models.Michela Massimi - forthcoming - Philosophy of Science.
    I analyse the exploratory function of two main modelling practices: targetless fictional models and hypothetical perspectival models. In both cases, I argue, modelers invite us to imagine or conceive something about the target system, which is either known to be non-existent or just hypothetical. I clarify the kind of imagining or conceiving involved in each modelling practice, and I show how each—in its own right—delivers important modal knowledge. I illustrate these two kinds of exploratory models with Maxwell’s ether model and (...)
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  • Losing Sight of the Forest for the Ψ: Beyond the Wavefunction Hegemony.Alisa Bokulich - 2019 - In Steven French & Juha Saatsi (eds.), Scientific Realism and the Quantum. Oxford University Press.
    Traditionally Ψ is used to stand in for both the mathematical wavefunction (the representation) and the quantum state (the thing in the world). This elision has been elevated to a metaphysical thesis by advocates of the view known as wavefunction realism. My aim in this paper is to challenge the hegemony of the wavefunction by calling attention to a little-known formulation of quantum theory that does not make use of the wavefunction in representing the quantum state. This approach, called Lagrangian (...)
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  • Representing and Explaining: The Eikonic Conception of Scientific Explanation.Alisa Bokulich - 2018 - Philosophy of Science (5):793-805.
    The ontic conception of explanation, according to which explanations are "full-bodied things in the world," is fundamentally misguided. I argue instead for what I call the eikonic conception, according to which explanations are the product of an epistemic activity involving representations of the phenomena to be explained. What is explained in the first instance is a particular conceptualization of the explanandum phenomenon, contextualized within a given research program or explanatory project. I conclude that this eikonic conception has a number of (...)
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  • Abstraction as an Autonomous Process in Scientific Modeling.Sim-Hui Tee - forthcoming - Philosophia:1-13.
    ion is one of the important processes in scientific modeling. It has always been implied that abstraction is an agent-centric activity that involves the cognitive processes of scientists in model building. I contend that there is an autonomous aspect of abstraction in many modeling activities. I argue that the autonomous process of abstraction is continuous with the agent-centric abstraction but capable of evolving independently from the modeler’s abstraction activity.
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  • It’s Not a Game: Accurate Representation with Toy Models.James Nguyen - forthcoming - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science:axz010.
    Drawing on ‘interpretational’ accounts of scientific representation, I argue that the use of so-called ‘toy models’ provides no particular philosophical puzzle. More specifically; I argue that once one gives up the idea that models are accurate representations of their targets only if they are appropriately similar, then simple and highly idealized models can be accurate in the same way that more complex models can be. Their differences turn on trading precision for generality, but, if they are appropriately interpreted, toy models (...)
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  • Imagination Extended and Embedded: Artifactual Versus Fictional Accounts of Models.Tarja Knuuttila - forthcoming - Synthese:1-21.
    This paper presents an artifactual approach to models that also addresses their fictional features. It discusses first the imaginary accounts of models and fiction that set model descriptions apart from imagined-objects, concentrating on the latter :251–268, 2010; Frigg and Nguyen in The Monist 99:225–242, 2016; Godfrey-Smith in Biol Philos 21:725–740, 2006; Philos Stud 143:101–116, 2009). While the imaginary approaches accommodate surrogative reasoning as an important characteristic of scientific modeling, they simultaneously raise difficult questions concerning how the imagined entities are related (...)
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  • Fictional Models and Fictional Representations.Sim-Hui Tee - 2018 - Axiomathes 28 (4):375-394.
    Scientific models consist of fictitious elements and assumptions. Various attempts have been made to answer the question of how a model, which is sometimes viewed as a fiction, can explain or predict the target phenomenon adequately. I examine two accounts of models-as-fictions which are aiming at disentangling the myth of representing the reality by fictional models. I argue that both views have their own weaknesses in spite of many virtues. I propose to re-evaluate the problems of representation from a novel (...)
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  • Modeling Leadership in Tolkien’s Fiction: Craft and Wisdom, Gift and Task.Randall G. Colton - forthcoming - Journal of Business Ethics:1-15.
    This article contributes to conversations about the “Hitler problem” in leadership ethics and the use of literary narratives in leadership studies by proposing Tolkien’s fiction as a model of leadership. Resonating with Aristotelian and Thomistic themes, these narratives present leadership as more a matter of practical wisdom than of morally neutral craft, or, more precisely, they model leadership as a matter of using craft for the sake of wisdom’s ends. Those ends become intelligible in terms of a triadic account of (...)
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