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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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  • Arnon Levy, Peter Godfrey-Smith (Eds.): The Scientific Imagination: Philosophical and Psychological Perspectives: Oxford University Press: Oxford 2020, 344 Pp., £55.00 (Hardcover), ISBN 9780190212308. [REVIEW]Michael T. Stuart - 2021 - Journal for General Philosophy of Science / Zeitschrift für Allgemeine Wissenschaftstheorie 52 (3):493-499.
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  • Model Explanation Versus Model-Induced Explanation.Insa Lawler & Emily Sullivan - forthcoming - Foundations of Science:1-26.
    Scientists appeal to models when explaining phenomena. Such explanations are often dubbed model explanations or model-based explanations. But what are the precise conditions for ME? Are ME special explanations? In our paper, we first rebut two definitions of ME and specify a more promising one. Based on this analysis, we single out a related conception that is concerned with explanations that are induced from working with a model. We call them ‘model-induced explanations’. Second, we study three paradigmatic cases of alleged (...)
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  • Scientific Understanding and Felicitous Legitimate Falsehoods.Insa Lawler - 2021 - Synthese 198 (7):6859-6887.
    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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  • 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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  • What Science Fiction Can Demonstrate About Novelty in the Context of Discovery and Scientific Creativity.Clarissa Ai Ling Lee - 2019 - Foundations of Science 24 (4):705-725.
    Four instances of how science fiction contributes to the elucidation of novelty in the context of discovery are considered by extending existing discussions on temporal and use-novelty. In the first instance, science fiction takes an already well-known theory and produces its own re-interpretation; in the second instance, the scientific account is usually straightforward and whatever novelty that may occur would be more along the lines of how the science is deployed to extra-scientific matters; in the third instance, science fiction takes (...)
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  • Mirrors Without Warnings.Roman Frigg & James Nguyen - 2019 - Synthese 198 (3):2427-2447.
    Veritism, the position that truth is necessary for epistemic acceptability, seems to be in tension with the observation that much of our best science is not, strictly speaking, true when interpreted literally. This generates a paradox: truth is necessary for epistemic acceptability; the claims of science have to be taken literally; much of what science produces is not literally true and yet it is acceptable. We frame Elgin’s project in True Enough as being motivated by, and offering a particular resolution (...)
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  • Models as Signs: Extending Kralemann and Lattman’s Proposal on Modeling Models Within Peirce’s Theory of Signs.Sergio Gallegos - 2019 - Synthese 196 (12):5115-5136.
    In recent decades, philosophers of science have devoted considerable efforts to understand what models represent. One popular position is that models represent fictional situations. Another position states that, though models often involve fictional elements, they represent real objects or scenarios. Though these two positions may seem to be incompatible, I believe it is possible to reconcile them. Using a threefold distinction between different signs proposed by Peirce, I develop an argument based on a proposal recently made by Kralemann and Lattman (...)
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  • Models, Models, Models: A Deflationary View.Jay Odenbaugh - forthcoming - Synthese:1-16.
    In this essay, I first consider a popular view of models and modeling, the similarity view. Second, I contend that arguments for it fail and it suffers from what I call “Hughes’ worry.” Third, I offer a deflationary approach to models and modeling that avoids Hughes’ worry and shows how scientific representations are of apiece with other types of representations. Finally, I consider an objection that the similarity view can deal with approximations better than the deflationary view and show that (...)
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  • Scienticity and Artistry Across All Subjects.Anthony Lock - 2018 - Philosophia 46 (2):355-377.
    Both scienticity and artistry have been listed in cluster concept definitions for both science and art. However, these clusters have not been considered together before. I contrast and combine these different clusters for the first time, and I argue that doing so better elucidates the properties of the natural sciences, humanities and fine arts than the science and art cluster concepts do separately. This is because all disciplines have varying levels of scienticity and artistry, but this is not captured fully (...)
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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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  • Predictive Processing and the Representation Wars: A Victory for the Eliminativist.Adrian Downey - 2018 - Synthese 195 (12):5115-5139.
    In this paper I argue that, by combining eliminativist and fictionalist approaches toward the sub-personal representational posits of predictive processing, we arrive at an empirically robust and yet metaphysically innocuous cognitive scientific framework. I begin the paper by providing a non-representational account of the five key posits of predictive processing. Then, I motivate a fictionalist approach toward the remaining indispensable representational posits of predictive processing, and explain how representation can play an epistemologically indispensable role within predictive processing explanations without thereby (...)
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  • Thin Versus Thick Accounts of Scientific Representation.Michael Poznic - 2018 - Synthese 195 (8):3433-3451.
    This paper proposes a novel distinction between accounts of scientific representation: it distinguishes thin accounts from thick accounts. Thin accounts focus on the descriptive aspect of representation whereas thick accounts acknowledge the evaluative aspect of representation. Thin accounts focus on the question of what a representation as such is. Thick accounts start from the question of what an adequate representation is. In this paper, I give two arguments in favor of a thick account, the Argument of the Epistemic Aims of (...)
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  • Models in Science and Engineering: Imagining, Designing and Evaluating Representations.Michael Poznic - 2017 - Dissertation, Delft University of Technology
    The central question of this thesis is how one can learn about particular targets by using models of those targets. A widespread assumption is that models have to be representative models in order to foster knowledge about targets. Thus the thesis begins by examining the concept of representation from an epistemic point of view and supports an account of representation that does not distinguish between representation simpliciter and adequate representation. Representation, understood in the sense of a representative model, is regarded (...)
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  • Science and Fiction: Analysing the Concept of Fiction in Science and its Limits.Ann-Sophie Barwich - 2013 - Journal for General Philosophy of Science / Zeitschrift für Allgemeine Wissenschaftstheorie 44 (2):357-373.
    A recent and growing discussion in philosophy addresses the construction of models and their use in scientific reasoning by comparison with fiction. This comparison helps to explore the problem of mediated observation and, hence, the lack of an unambiguous reference of representations. Examining the usefulness of the concept of fiction for a comparison with non-denoting elements in science, the aim of this paper is to present reasonable grounds for drawing a distinction between these two kinds of representation. In particular, my (...)
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  • A plea for an epistemology of evidence: randomifed clinical trials and post-truth.Juan Bautista Bengoetxea - 2021 - Veritas – Revista de Filosofia da Pucrs 48:79-101.
    Resumen En este artículo propongo un análisis crítico de varias tendencias filosóficas contrarias al uso de la noción de verdad en el ámbito epistemológico, especialmente la de Rorty. En particular, sostengo que la verdad es un concepto clave para el estudio del conocimiento, especialmente el científico, en cuanto toma una forma concisa en los procedimientos experimentales de carácter probatorio-empírico. Gracias a este enfoque, busco socavar varias tesis de los enfoques de la ‘posverdad’ por medio del uso de un conjunto de (...)
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  • Scientific Discovery Through Fictionally Modelling Reality.Fiora Salis - 2018 - Topoi 39 (4):927-937.
    How do scientific models represent in a way that enables us to discover new truths about reality and draw inferences about it? Contemporary accounts of scientific discovery answer this question by focusing on the cognitive mechanisms involved in the generation of new ideas and concepts in terms of a special sort of reasoning—or model-based reasoning—involving imagery. Alternatively, I argue that answering this question requires that we recognise the crucial role of the propositional imagination in the construction and development of models (...)
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  • Inconsistent Idealizations and Inferentialism About Scientific Representation.Peter Tan - 2021 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 89:11-18.
    Inferentialists about scientific representation hold that an apparatus’s representing a target system consists in the apparatus allowing “surrogative inferences” about the target. I argue that a serious problem for inferentialism arises from the fact that many scientific theories and models contain internal inconsistencies. Inferentialism, left unamended, implies that inconsistent scientific models have unlimited representational power, since an inconsistency permits any conclusion to be inferred. I consider a number of ways that inferentialists can respond to this challenge before suggesting my own (...)
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  • A Pragmatic Approach to the Ontology of Models.Antonis Antoniou - 2021 - Synthese:1-20.
    What are scientific models? Philosophers of science have been trying to answer this question during the last three decades by putting forward a number of different proposals. Some say that models are best understood as abstract Platonic objects or fictional entities akin to Sherlock Holmes, while others focus on their mathematical nature and see them as set theoretical structures. Although each account has its own strengths in offering various insights on the nature of models, several objections have been raised against (...)
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  • Constructing Reality with Models.Tee Sim-Hui - 2019 - Synthese 196 (11):4605-4622.
    Scientific models are used to predict and understand the target phenomena in the reality. The kind of epistemic relationship between the model and the reality is always regarded by most of the philosophers as a representational one. I argue that, complementary to this representational role, some of the scientific models have a constructive role to play in altering and reconstructing the reality in a physical way. I hold that the idealized model assumptions and elements bestow the constructive force of a (...)
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  • The Crucial Role of Models in Science: Natasha Myers: Rendering Life Molecular: Models, Modelers, and Excitable Matter. Durham and London: Duke University Press, 2015, 328pp, $94.95 Cloth, $26.95 PB.Sabina Leonelli - 2017 - Metascience 26 (1):99-101.
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  • Modeling Organs with Organs on Chips: Scientific Representation and Engineering Design as Modeling Relations.Michael Poznic - 2016 - Philosophy and Technology 29 (4):357-371.
    On the basis of a case study in bioengineering, this paper proposes a novel perspective on models in science and engineering. This is done with the help of two notions: representation and design. These two notions are interpreted as referring to modeling relations between vehicles and targets that differ in their respective directions of fit. The representation relation has a vehicle-to-target direction of fit and the design relation has a target-to-vehicle direction of fit. The case study of an organ on (...)
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  • Imagination and Insight: A New Acount of the Content of Thought Experiments.Letitia Meynell - 2014 - Synthese 191 (17):4149-4168.
    This paper motivates, explains, and defends a new account of the content of thought experiments. I begin by briefly surveying and critiquing three influential accounts of thought experiments: James Robert Brown’s Platonist account, John Norton’s deflationist account that treats them as picturesque arguments, and a cluster of views that I group together as mental model accounts. I use this analysis to motivate a set of six desiderata for a new approach. I propose that we treat thought experiments primarily as aesthetic (...)
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  • Modeling Without Models.Arnon Levy - 2015 - Philosophical Studies 172 (3):781-798.
    Modeling is an important scientific practice, yet it raises significant philosophical puzzles. Models are typically idealized, and they are often explored via imaginative engagement and at a certain “distance” from empirical reality. These features raise questions such as what models are and how they relate to the world. Recent years have seen a growing discussion of these issues, including a number of views that treat modeling in terms of indirect representation and analysis. Indirect views treat the model as a bona (...)
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  • Semblance or Similarity? Reflections on Simulation and Similarity: Michael Weisberg: Simulation and Similarity: Using Models to Understand the World. Oxford University Press, 2013. 224pp. ISBN 9780199933662, $65.00.Jay Odenbaugh - 2015 - Biology and Philosophy 30 (2):277-291.
    In this essay, I critically evaluate components of Michael Weisberg’s approach to models and modeling in his book Simulation and Similarity. First, I criticize his account of the ontology of models and mathematics. Second, I respond to his objections to fictionalism regarding models arguing that they fail. Third, I sketch a deflationary approach to models that retains many elements of his account but avoids the inflationary commitments.
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  • The Multifaceted Role of Imagination in Science and Religion. A Critical Examination of its Epistemic, Creative and Meaning-Making Functions.Ingrid Malm Lindberg - 2021 - Dissertation, Uppsala University
    The main purpose of this dissertation is to examine critically and discuss the role of imagination in science and religion, with particular emphasis on its possible epistemic, creative, and meaning-making functions. In order to answer my research questions, I apply theories and concepts from contemporary philosophy of mind on scientific and religious practices. This framework allows me to explore the mental state of imagination, not as an isolated phenomenon but, rather, as one of many mental states that co-exist and interplay (...)
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  • The Heuristic Defense of Scientific Models: An Incentive-Based Assessment.Armin W. Schulz - 2015 - Perspectives on Science 23 (4):424-442.
    It is undeniable that much scientific work is model-based. Despite this, the justification for this reliance on models is still controversial. A particular difficulty here is the fact that many scientific models are based on assumptions that do not describe the exact details of many or even any empirical situations very well. This raises the question of why it is that, despite their frequent lack of descriptive accuracy, employing models is scientifically useful.One..
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  • Imagination in Scientific Modeling.Adam Toon - 2016 - In Amy Kind (ed.), The Routledge Handbook of Philosophy of Imagination. Routledge. pp. 451-462.
    Modeling is central to scientific inquiry. It also depends heavily upon the imagination. In modeling, scientists seem to turn their attention away from the complexity of the real world to imagine a realm of perfect spheres, frictionless planes and perfect rational agents. Modeling poses many questions. What are models? How do they relate to the real world? Recently, a number of philosophers have addressed these questions by focusing on the role of the imagination in modeling. Some have also drawn parallels (...)
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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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  • Scientific Models and Metalinguistic Negotiation.Mirco Sambrotta - 2019 - Theoria. An International Journal for Theory, History and Foundations of Science 34 (2):277.
    The aim of this paper is to explore the possibility that, at least, some metaphysical debates are ‘metalinguistic negotiations’. I will take the dispute between the dominant approaches of realism and the anti-realism ones about the ontological status of scientific models as a case-study. I will argue that such a debate may be better understood as a disagreement, at bottom normatively, motivated, insofar as a normative and non-factual question may be involved in it: how the relevant piece of language ought (...)
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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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  • Isabelle F. Peschard and Bas C. Van Fraassen (Eds.): The Experimental Side of Modeling: (Minnesota Studies in the Philosophy of Science, Vol 21). University of Minnesota Press, Minnesota, 2018, 336 Pp., $ 40,00 (Paperback), ISBN: 978-1-5179-0534-7. [REVIEW]Adrian Currie - 2020 - Journal for General Philosophy of Science / Zeitschrift für Allgemeine Wissenschaftstheorie 51 (3):499-502.
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  • Models, Sherlock Holmes and the Emperor Claudius.Adam Toon - manuscript
    Recently, a number of authors have suggested that we understand scientific models in the same way as fictional characters, like Sherlock Holmes. The biggest challenge for this approach concerns the ontology of fictional characters. I consider two responses to this challenge, given by Roman Frigg, Ronald Giere and Peter Godfrey-Smith, and argue that neither is successful. I then suggest an alternative approach. While parallels with fiction are useful, I argue that models of real systems are more aptly compared to works (...)
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  • Modelos, idealizaciones: una crítica del ficcionalismo.Alejandro Cassini - 2013 - Principia: An International Journal of Epistemology 17 (3):345.
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  • The Content of Model-Based Information.Raphael van Riel - 2015 - Synthese 192 (12):3839-3858.
    The paper offers an account of the structure of information provided by models that relevantly deviate from reality. It is argued that accounts of scientific modeling according to which a model’s epistemic and pragmatic relevance stems from the alleged fact that models give access to possibilities fail. First, it seems that there are models that do not give access to possibilities, for what they describe is impossible. Secondly, it appears that having access to a possibility is epistemically and pragmatically idle. (...)
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  • Is Captain Kirk a Natural Blonde? Do X-Ray Crystallographers Dream of Electron Clouds? Comparing Model-Based Inferences in Science with Fiction.Ann-Sophie Barwich - 2018 - In Otávio Bueno, George Darby, Steven French & Dean Rickles (eds.), Thinking About Science, Reflecting on Art: Bringing Aesthetics and Philosophy of Science Together. London, UK:
    Scientific models share one central characteristic with fiction: their relation to the physical world is ambiguous. It is often unclear whether an element in a model represents something in the world or presents an artifact of model building. Fiction, too, can resemble our world to varying degrees. However, we assign a different epistemic function to scientific representations. As artifacts of human activity, how are scientific representations allowing us to make inferences about real phenomena? In reply to this concern, philosophers of (...)
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  • Models, Idealisations, and Realism.Juha Saatsi - 2016 - In F. Sterpetti, E. Ippoloti & T. Nickles (eds.), Models and Inferences in Science. Springer.
    I explore a challenge that idealisations pose to scientific realism and argue that the realist can best accommodate idealisations by capitalising on certain modal features of idealised models that are underwritten by laws of nature.
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  • Playing with Molecules.Adam Toon - 2011 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 42 (4):580-589.
    Recent philosophy of science has seen a number of attempts to understand scientific models by looking to theories of fiction. In previous work, I have offered an account of models that draws on Kendall Walton’s ‘make-believe’ theory of art. According to this account, models function as ‘props’ in games of make-believe, like children’s dolls or toy trucks. In this paper, I assess the make-believe view through an empirical study of molecular models. I suggest that the view gains support when we (...)
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  • Understanding Through Modeling: The Explanatory Power of Inadequate Representation.Markus8 Eronen & Raphael van Riel - 2015 - Synthese 192 (12):3777-3780.
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  • Similarity and Scientific Representation.Adam Toon - 2012 - International Studies in the Philosophy of Science 26 (3):241-257.
    The similarity view of scientific representation has recently been subjected to strong criticism. Much of this criticism has been directed against a ?naive? similarity account, which tries to explain representation solely in terms of similarity between scientific models and the world. This article examines the more sophisticated account offered by the similarity view's leading proponent, Ronald Giere. In contrast to the naive account, Giere's account appeals to the role played by the scientists using a scientific model. A similar move is (...)
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  • The Cognitive Integration of Scientific Instruments: Information, Situated Cognition, and Scientific Practice.Richard Heersmink - 2016 - Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences 15 (4):1-21.
    Researchers in the biological and biomedical sciences, particularly those working in laboratories, use a variety of artifacts to help them perform their cognitive tasks. This paper analyses the relationship between researchers and cognitive artifacts in terms of integration. It first distinguishes different categories of cognitive artifacts used in biological practice on the basis of their informational properties. This results in a novel classification of scientific instruments, conducive to an analysis of the cognitive interactions between researchers and artifacts. It then uses (...)
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  • Realism and its Representational Vehicles.Steven French - 2017 - Synthese 194 (9):3311-3326.
    In this essay I shall focus on the adoption of the Semantic Approach by structural realists, including myself, who have done so on the grounds that it wears its structuralist sympathies on its sleeve. Despite this, the SA has been identified as standing in tension with the ontological commitments of the so-called ’ontic’ form of this view and so I shall explore that tension before discussing the usefulness of the SA in framing scientific representation and concluding with a discussion of (...)
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