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  1. The Toys of Organic Chemistry: Material Manipulatives and Inductive Reasoning.Kate McKinney Maddalena - 2013 - Teorie Vědy / Theory of Science 35 (2):227-248.
    Chemical visualizations and models are special kinds of situated, inductive arguments. In this paper, I examine several historical case studies—an archive of images from museums, special collections, and popular magazines—as examples of emergent practices of physical modeling as theoretical play which became the basis for molecular biology and structural chemistry. Specifically, I trace a legacy of visualization tools that starts with Archibald Scott Cooper and Friedrich Kekulé in the late 1800s, crystallizes as material manipulatives in Kekulé’s student Jacobus Henricus Van’t (...)
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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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  • 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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  • Against the New Fictionalism: A Hybrid View of Scientific Models.Chuang Liu - 2016 - International Studies in the Philosophy of Science 30 (1):39-54.
    This article develops an approach to modelling and models in science—the hybrid view—that is against model fictionalism of a recent stripe. It further argues that there is a version of fictionalism about models to which my approach is neutral and which makes sense only if one adopts a special sort of antirealism. Otherwise, my approach strongly suggests that one stay away from fictionalism and embrace realism directly.
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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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  • Science and Mathematics: The Scope and Limits of Mathematical Fictionalism: Mary Leng: Mathematics and Reality. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2010, X+278pp, £39.00 HB. [REVIEW]Christopher Pincock, Alan Baker, Alexander Paseau & Mary Leng - 2012 - Metascience 21 (2):269-294.
    Science and mathematics: the scope and limits of mathematical fictionalism Content Type Journal Article Category Book Symposium Pages 1-26 DOI 10.1007/s11016-011-9640-3 Authors Christopher Pincock, University of Missouri, 438 Strickland Hall, Columbia, MO 65211-4160, USA Alan Baker, Department of Philosophy, Swarthmore College, Swarthmore, PA 19081, USA Alexander Paseau, Wadham College, Oxford, OX1 3PN UK Mary Leng, Department of Philosophy, University of York, Heslington, York, YO10 5DD UK Journal Metascience Online ISSN 1467-9981 Print ISSN 0815-0796.
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  • Do fictions explain?James Nguyen - forthcoming - Synthese:1-26.
    I argue that fictional models, construed as models that misrepresent certain ontological aspects of their target systems, can nevertheless explain why the latter exhibit certain behaviour. They can do this by accurately representing whatever it is that that behaviour counterfactually depends on. However, we should be sufficiently sensitive to different explanatory questions, i.e., ‘why does certain behaviour occur?’ versus ‘why does the counterfactual dependency invoked to answer that question actually hold?’. With this distinction in mind, I argue that whilst fictional (...)
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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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  • Models, Fictions, and Realism: Two Packages.Arnon Levy - 2012 - Philosophy of Science 79 (5):738-748.
    Some philosophers of science – the present author included – appeal to fiction as an interpretation of the practice of modeling. This raises the specter of an incompatibility with realism, since fiction-making is essentially non-truth-regulated. I argue that the prima facie conflict can be resolved in two ways, each involving a distinct notion of fiction and a corresponding formulation of realism. The main goal of the paper is to describe these two packages. Toward the end I comment on how to (...)
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  • Make-Believe and Model-Based Representation in Science: The Epistemology of Frigg’s and Toon’s Fictionalist Views of Modeling.Michael Poznic - 2016 - Teorema: International Journal of Philosophy 35 (3):201-218.
    Roman Frigg and Adam Toon, both, defend a fictionalist view of scientific modeling. One fundamental thesis of their view is that scientists are participating in games of make-believe when they study models in order to learn about the models themselves and about target systems represented by the models. In this paper, the epistemology of these two fictionalist views is critically discussed. I will argue that both views can give an explanation of how scientists learn about models they are studying. However, (...)
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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 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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  • Manipulative Imagination: How to Move Things Around in Mathematics.Valeria Giardino - 2018 - Theoria : An International Journal for Theory, History and Fundations of Science 33 (2):345-360.
    In the first part of the paper, previous work about embodied mathematics and the practice of topology will be presented. According to the proposed view, in order to become experts, topologists have to learn how to use manipulative imagination: representations are cognitive tools whose functioning depends from pre-existing cognitive abilities and from specific training. In the second part of the paper, the notion of imagination as “make-believe” is discussed to give an account of cognitive tools in mathematics as props; to (...)
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  • From Models-as-Fictions to Models-as-Tools.Adrian Currie - 2017 - Ergo: An Open Access Journal of Philosophy 4.
    Many accounts of scientific modeling conceive of models as fictions: scientists interact with models in ways analogous to various aesthetic objects. Fictionalists follow most other accounts of modeling by taking them to be revelatory of the actual world in virtue of bearing some resemblance relation to a target system. While such fictionalist accounts capture crucial aspects of modelling practice, they are ill-suited to some design and engineering contexts. Here, models sometimes serve to underwrite design projects whereby real-world targets are constructed. (...)
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  • Models as Make-Believe.Adam Toon - 2010 - In Roman Frigg & Matthew Hunter (eds.), Beyond Mimesis and Convention: Representation in Art and Science. Boston Studies in Philosophy of Science.
    In this paper I propose an account of representation for scientific models based on Kendall Walton’s ‘make-believe’ theory of representation in art. I first set out the problem of scientific representation and respond to a recent argument due to Craig Callender and Jonathan Cohen, which aims to show that the problem may be easily dismissed. I then introduce my account of models as props in games of make-believe and show how it offers a solution to the problem. Finally, I demonstrate (...)
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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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  • The Fiction View of Models Reloaded.Roman Frigg & James Nguyen - 2016 - The Monist 99 (3):225-242.
    In this paper we explore the constraints that our preferred account of scientific representation places on the ontology of scientific models. Pace the Direct Representation view associated with Arnon Levy and Adam Toon we argue that scientific models should be thought of as imagined systems, and clarify the relationship between imagination and representation.
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  • How Models Represent.James Nguyen - 2016 - Dissertation,
    Scientific models are important, if not the sole, units of science. This thesis addresses the following question: in virtue of what do scientific models represent their target systems? In Part i I motivate the question, and lay out some important desiderata that any successful answer must meet. This provides a novel conceptual framework in which to think about the question of scientific representation. I then argue against Callender and Cohen’s attempt to diffuse the question. In Part ii I investigate the (...)
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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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  • Scientific Models and Games of Make-Believe: A Modal-Logical Perspective.Matthieu Gallais - 2016 - Kairos 17 (1):73-109.
    Some fictionalist approaches to the notion of scientific model are based on the concept of game of make-believe developed by Kendall Walton, without proposing a similar interpretation of it. The distinction between authorized and unauthorized games can be one of the sources of those divergences. In relation to the distinction made by Walton, the de dicto and de re modalities of the fiction-operator reflect different epistemological engagements concerning objects which satisfy properties. This paper aims at following up on the proposals (...)
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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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  • Similarity and Representation in Chemical Knowledge Practices.Juan Bautista Bengoetxea, Oliver Todt & José Luis Luján - 2014 - Foundations of Chemistry 16 (3):215-233.
    This paper argues for the theoretical and practical validity of similarity as a useful epistemological tool in scientific knowledge generation, specifically in chemistry. Classical analyses of similarity in philosophy of science do not account for the concept’s practical significance in scientific activities. We recur to examples from chemistry to counter the claim of authors like Quine or Goodman to the effect that similarity must be excluded from scientific practices . In conclusion we argue that more recent conceptualizations of the notion (...)
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  • Mathematical Models of Abstract Systems: Knowing Abstract Geometric Forms.Jean-Pierre Marquis - 2013 - Annales de la Faculté des Sciences de Toulouse 22 (5):969-1016.
    Scientists use models to know the world. It i susually assumed that mathematicians doing pure mathematics do not. Mathematicians doing pure mathematics prove theorems about mathematical entities like sets, numbers, geometric figures, spaces, etc., they compute various functions and solve equations. In this paper, I want to exhibit models build by mathematicians to study the fundamental components of spaces and, more generally, of mathematical forms. I focus on one area of mathematics where models occupy a central role, namely homotopy theory. (...)
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