Magnetized Memories: Analogies and Templates in Model Transfer

In S. Holm & M. Serban (eds.), Biology: Living Machines? Routledge. pp. 123-140 (2020)
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Abstract

One striking feature of the contemporary modeling practice is its interdisciplinarity: the same function forms and equations, and mathematical and computational methods are being transferred across disciplinary boundaries. Within philosophy of science this interdisciplinary dimension of modeling has been addressed by both analogy and template-based approaches that have proceeded separately from each other. We argue that a more fully-blown account of model transfer needs both perspectives. We examine analogical reasoning and template application through a detailed case study on the transfer of the Ising model from physics into neuroscience. Our account combines the analogy and template-based approaches through the notion of a model template that highlights the conceptual side of model transfer.

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