Idealization and Many Aims

Philosophy of Science 87 (5):933-943 (2020)
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Abstract
In this paper, I first outline the view developed in my recent book on the role of idealization in scientific understanding. I discuss how this view leads to the recognition of a number of kinds of variability among scientific representations, including variability introduced by the many different aims of scientific projects. I then argue that the role of idealization in securing understanding distances understanding from truth, but that this understanding nonetheless gives rise to scientific knowledge. This discussion will clarify how my view relates to three other recent books on understanding by Henk de Regt, Catherine Elgin, and Kareem Khalifa.
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Archival date: 2020-02-06
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