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Idealization and abstraction: refining the distinction

Synthese 198 (Suppl 24):5855-5872 (2018)

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  1. Defending De-Idealization in Economic Modeling: A Case Study.Edoardo Peruzzi & Gustavo Cevolani - forthcoming - Philosophy of the Social Sciences.
    This paper defends the viability of de-idealization strategies in economic modeling against recent criticism. De-idealization occurs when an idealized assumption of a theoretical model is replaced...
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  • Thinking About Idealization, Abstraction and Scientific Models: An Introduction.Demetris Portides - 2021 - Synthese 198 (Suppl 24):5849-5853.
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  • Deidealization: No Easy Reversals.Tarja Knuuttila & Mary S. Morgan - 2019 - Philosophy of Science 86 (4):641-661.
    Deidealization as a topic in its own right has attracted remarkably little philosophical interest despite the extensive literature on idealization. One reason for this is the often implicit assumption that idealization and deidealization are, potentially at least, reversible processes. We question this assumption by analyzing the challenges of deidealization within a menu of four broad categories: deidealizing as recomposing, deidealizing as reformulating, deidealizing as concretizing, and deidealizing as situating. On closer inspection, models turn out much more inflexible than the reversal (...)
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  • Ideální konsenzus, reálná diverzita a výzva veřejného ospravedlnění: k limitům idealizace v liberální politické teorii [Ideal Consensus, Real Diversity, and the Challenge of Public Justification: On the Limits of Idealisation in Liberal Political Theory].Matouš Mencl & Pavel Dufek - 2021 - Acta Politologica 2 (13):49–70.
    The paper deals with the methodological clash between idealism and anti-idealism in political philosophy, and highlights its importance for public reason (PR) and public justification (PJ) theorising. Upon reviewing the broader context which harks back to Rawls’s notion of a realistic utopia, we focus on two major recent contributions to the debate in the work of David Estlund (the prototypical utopian) and Gerald Gaus (the cautious anti-utopian). While Estlund presents a powerful case on behalf of ideal theorising, claiming that motivational (...)
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  • What is a Target System?Alkistis Elliott-Graves - 2020 - Biology and Philosophy 35 (2):1-22.
    Many phenomena in the natural world are complex, so scientists study them through simplified and idealised models. Philosophers of science have sought to explain how these models relate to the world. On most accounts, models do not represent the world directly, but through target systems. However, our knowledge of target systems is incomplete. First, what is the process by which target systems come about? Second, what types of entity are they? I argue that the basic conception of target systems, on (...)
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  • An Artifactual Perspective on Idealization: Constant Capacitance and the Hodgkin and Huxley Model.Natalia Carrillo & Tarja Knuuttila - 2021 - In Alejandro Cassini & Juan Redmond (eds.), Models and Idealizations in Science: Fictional and Artefactual Approaches. Cham: Springer.
    There are two traditions of thinking about idealization offering almost opposite views on their functioning and epistemic status. While one tradition views idealizations as epistemic deficiencies, the other one highlights the epistemic benefits of idealization. Both of these, however, identify idealization with misrepresentation. In this article, we instead approach idealization from the artifactual perspective, comparing it to the distortion-to-reality accounts of idealization, and exemplifying it through the case of the Hodgkin and Huxley model of nerve impulse. From the artifactual perspective, (...)
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  • Big Dragons on Small Islands: Generality and Particularity in Science: Review of Angela Potochnik’s Idealization and the Aims of Science.Adrian Currie - 2018 - Biology and Philosophy 33 (3-4):20.
    Angela Potochnik’s Idealization and the Aims of Science defends an ambitious and systematic account of scientific knowledge: ultimately science pursues human understanding rather than truth. Potochnik argues that idealization is rampant and unchecked in science. Further, given that idealizations involve departures from truth, this suggests science is not primarily about truth. I explore the relationship between truths about causal patterns and scientific understanding in light of this, and suggest that Potochnik underestimates the importance and power of highly particular narrative explanations.
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  • Generative Models.Sim-Hui Tee - forthcoming - Erkenntnis:1-19.
    Generative models have been proposed as a new type of non-representational scientific models recently. A generative model is characterized with the capacity of producing new models on the basis of the existing one. The current accounts do not explain sufficiently the mechanism of the generative capacity of a generative model. I attempt to accomplish this task in this paper. I outline two antecedent accounts of generative models. I point out that both types of generative models function to generate new homogenous (...)
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  • Infinite Idealizations in Science: An Introduction.Samuel C. Fletcher, Patricia Palacios, Laura Ruetsche & Elay Shech - 2019 - Synthese 196 (5):1657-1669.
    We offer a framework for organizing the literature regarding the debates revolving around infinite idealizations in science, and a short summary of the contributions to this special issue.
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  • Evolutionary Models and the Normative Significance of Stability.Arnon Levy - 2018 - Biology and Philosophy 33 (5-6):33.
    Many have expected that understanding the evolution of norms should, in some way, bear on our first-order normative outlook: How norms evolve should shape which norms we accept. But recent philosophy has not done much to shore up this expectation. Most existing discussions of evolution and norms either jump headlong into the is/ought gap or else target meta-ethical issues, such as the objectivity of norms. My aim in this paper is to sketch a different way in which evolutionary considerations can (...)
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  • Conceptual Constructive Models and Abstraction-as-Aggregation.Sim-Hui Tee - 2021 - Philosophia 49 (2):819-837.
    Conceptual constructive models are a type of scientific model that can be used to construct or reshape the target phenomenon conceptually. Though it has received scant attention from the philosophers, it raises an intriguing issue of how a conceptual constructive model can construct the target phenomenon in a conceptual way. Proponents of the conception of conceptual constructive models are not being explicit about the application of the constructive force of a model in the target construction. It is far from clear (...)
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  • Integración de analogías en la investigación científica (Integration of Analogies in Scientific Modeling).Natalia Carrillo-Escalera - 2019 - Revista Colombiana de Filosofía de la Ciencia 37 (18):318-335.
    Discussion of modeling within philosophy of science has focused in how models, understood as finished products, represent the world. This approach has some issues accounting for the value of modeling in situations where there are controversies as to which should be the object of representation. In this work I show that a historical analysis of modeling complements the aforementioned representational program, since it allows us to examine processes of integration of analogies that play a role in the generation of criteria (...)
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  • Infinite Idealizations in Physics.Elay Shech - 2018 - Philosophy Compass 13 (9):e12514.
    In this essay, I provide an overview of the debate on infinite and essential idealizations in physics. I will first present two ostensible examples: phase transitions and the Aharonov– Bohm effect. Then, I will describe the literature on the topic as a debate between two positions: Essentialists claim that idealizations are essential or indispensable for scientific accounts of certain physical phenomena, while dispensabilists maintain that idealizations are dispensable from mature scientific theory. I will also identify some attempts at finding a (...)
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