Epistemic artifacts and the modal dimension of modeling

European Journal for Philosophy of Science 11 (3):1-18 (2021)
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Abstract

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, which exploits and combines models in various modes and media. Neither model intends to represent any actual target system. Rather, they are constructed to study possible mechanisms through the construction of a model system with built-in dependencies.

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Tarja Knuuttila
University of Vienna

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