Imagination in scientific modeling

In Amy Kind (ed.), The Routledge Handbook of Philosophy of Imagination. Routledge. pp. 451-462 (2016)
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Abstract
Modeling is central to scientific inquiry. It also depends heavily upon the imagination. In modeling, scientists seem to turn their attention away from the complexity of the real world to imagine a realm of perfect spheres, frictionless planes and perfect rational agents. Modeling poses many questions. What are models? How do they relate to the real world? Recently, a number of philosophers have addressed these questions by focusing on the role of the imagination in modeling. Some have also drawn parallels between models and fiction. This chapter examines these approaches to scientific modeling and considers the challenges they face.
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