Towards a Taxonomy of the Model-Ladenness of Data

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Model-data symbiosis is the view that there is an interdependent and mutually beneficial relationship between data and models, whereby models are not only data-laden, but data are also model-laden or model filtered. In this paper I elaborate and defend the second, more controversial, component of the symbiosis view. In particular, I construct a preliminary taxonomy of the different ways in which theoretical and simulation models are used in the production of data sets. These include data conversion, data correction, data interpolation, data scaling, data fusion, data assimilation, and synthetic data. Each is defined and briefly illustrated with an example from the geosciences. I argue that model-filtered data are typically more accurate and reliable than the so-called raw data, and hence beneficially serve the epistemic aims of science. By illuminating the methods by which raw data are turned into scientifically useful data sets, this taxonomy provides a foundation for developing a more adequate philosophy of data.
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Archival date: 2019-09-25
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