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  1. Synthetic Fictions: Turning Imagined Biological Systems Into Concrete Ones.Tarja Knuuttila & Rami Koskinen - 2020 - Synthese 198 (9):8233-8250.
    The recent discussion of fictional models has focused on imagination, implicitly considering fictions as something nonconcrete. We present two cases from synthetic biology that can be viewed as concrete fictions. Both minimal cells and alternative genetic systems are modal in nature: they, as well as their abstract cousins, can be used to study unactualized possibilia. We approach these synthetic constructs through Vaihinger’s notion of a semi-fiction and Goodman’s notion of semifactuality. Our study highlights the relative existence of such concrete fictions. (...)
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  • Models, Fictions and Artifacts.Tarja Knuuttila - 2021 - In Wenceslao J. Gonzalez (ed.), Language and Scientific Research. Cham: Palgrave Macmillan. pp. 199-22.
    This paper discusses modeling from the artifactual perspective. The artifactual approach conceives models as erotetic devices. They are purpose-built systems of dependencies that are constrained in view of answering a pending scientific question, motivated by theoretical or empirical considerations. In treating models as artifacts, the artifactual approach is able to address the various languages of sciences that are overlooked by the traditional accounts that concentrate on the relationship of representation in an abstract and general manner. In contrast, the artifactual approach (...)
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  • Epistemic Artifacts and the Modal Dimension of Modeling.Tarja Knuuttila - 2021 - European Journal for Philosophy of Science 11 (3):1-18.
    The epistemic value of models has traditionally been approached from a representational perspective. This paper argues that the artifactual approach evades the problem of accounting for representation and better accommodates the modal dimension of modeling. From an artifactual perspective, models are viewed as erotetic vehicles constrained by their construction and available representational tools. The modal dimension of modeling is approached through two case studies. The first portrays mathematical modeling in economics, while the other discusses the modeling practice of synthetic biology, (...)
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  • The Epistemology of Modal Modeling.Ylwa Sjölin Wirling & Till Grüne-Yanoff - 2021 - Philosophy Compass 16 (10):e12775.
    Philosophers of science have recently taken care to highlight different modeling practices where scientific models primarily contribute modal information, in the form of for example possibility claims, how-possibly explanations, or counterfactual conditionals. While examples abound, comparatively little attention is being paid to the question of under what conditions, and in virtue of what, models can perform this epistemic function. In this paper, we firstly delineate modal modeling from other modeling practices, and secondly reviewattempts to spell out and explain the epistemic (...)
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  • Scientific Representation and Dissimilarity.Brandon Boesch - 2019 - Synthese 198 (6):5495-5513.
    In this essay, I examine the role of dissimilarity in scientific representation. After briefly reviewing some of the philosophical literature which places a strong emphasis on the role of similarity, I turn to examine some work from Carroll and Borges which demonstrates that perfect similarity is not valuable in the representational use of maps. Expanding on this insight, I go on to argue that this shows that dissimilarity is an important part of the representational use of maps—a point I then (...)
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  • A critical analysis of Markovian monism.Majid D. Beni - forthcoming - Synthese:1-21.
    Free Energy Principle underlies a unifying framework that integrates theories of origins of life, cognition, and action. Recently, FEP has been developed into a Markovian monist perspective. The paper expresses scepticism about the validity of arguments for Markovian monism. The critique is based on the assumption that Markovian models are scientific models, and while we may defend ontological theories about the nature of scientific models, we could not read off metaphysical theses about the nature of target systems from our theories (...)
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  • Is Crediblity a Guide to Possibility? A Challenge for Toy Models in Science.Ylwa Sjölin Wirling - forthcoming - Analysis.
    Several philosophers of science claim that scientific toy models afford knowledge of possibility, but answers to the question of why toy models can be expected to competently play this role are scarce. The main line of reply is that toy models support possibility claims insofar as they are credible. I raise a challenge for this credibility-thesis, drawing on a familiar problem for imagination-based modal epistemologies, and argue that it remains unanswered in the current literature. The credibility-thesis has a long way (...)
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  • Models, structures, and the explanatory role of mathematics in empirical science.Mary Leng - forthcoming - Synthese:1-26.
    Are there genuine mathematical explanations of physical phenomena, and if so, how can mathematical theories, which are typically thought to concern abstract mathematical objects, explain contingent empirical matters? The answer, I argue, is in seeing an important range of mathematical explanations as structural explanations, where structural explanations explain a phenomenon by showing it to have been an inevitable consequence of the structural features instantiated in the physical system under consideration. Such explanations are best cast as deductive arguments which, by virtue (...)
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  • Scientific Representation.Roman Frigg & James Nguyen - 2016 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
    Science provides us with representations of atoms, elementary particles, polymers, populations, genetic trees, economies, rational decisions, aeroplanes, earthquakes, forest fires, irrigation systems, and the world’s climate. It's through these representations that we learn about the world. This entry explores various different accounts of scientific representation, with a particular focus on how scientific models represent their target systems. As philosophers of science are increasingly acknowledging the importance, if not the primacy, of scientific models as representational units of science, it's important to (...)
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