Fiction As a Vehicle for Truth: Moving Beyond the Ontic Conception

The Monist 99 (3):260-279 (2016)
Download Edit this record How to cite View on PhilPapers
Abstract
Despite widespread evidence that fictional models play an explanatory role in science, resistance remains to the idea that fictions can explain. A central source of this resistance is a particular view about what explanations are, namely, the ontic conception of explanation. According to the ontic conception, explanations just are the concrete entities in the world. I argue this conception is ultimately incoherent and that even a weaker version of the ontic conception fails. Fictional models can succeed in offering genuine explanations by correctly capturing relevant patterns of counterfactual dependence and licensing correct inferences. Using the example of Newtonian force explanations of the tides, I show how, even in science, fiction can be a vehicle for truth.
Keywords
Categories
No categories specified
(categorize this paper)
PhilPapers/Archive ID
BOKFAA
Revision history
Archival date: 2018-02-10
View upload history
References found in this work BETA

No references found.

Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

Add more citations

Added to PP index
2017-10-24

Total downloads
48 ( #24,147 of 32,591 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
46 ( #7,462 of 32,591 )

How can I increase my downloads?

Monthly downloads since first upload
This graph includes both downloads from PhilArchive and clicks to external links.