Imagination extended and embedded: artifactual versus fictional accounts of models

Synthese 198 (Suppl 21):5077-5097 (2017)
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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 to actual representational tools, and coordinated among different scientists, and with real-world phenomena. The artifactual account focuses, in contrast, on the culturally established external representational tools that enable, embody, and extend scientific imagination and reasoning. While there are commonalities between models and fictions, it is argued that the focus should be on the fictional uses of models rather than considering models as fictions.

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Tarja Knuuttila
University of Vienna


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