Nowak, Models, and the Lessons of Neo-Kantianism

Organon F: Medzinárodný Časopis Pre Analytickú Filozofiu 30 (2):165-170 (2023)
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Models are the coin of the realm in current philosophy of science, as they are in science itself, having replaced laws and theories as the primary strategy. Logical Positivism tried to erase the older neo-Kantian distinction between ideal constructions and reality. It returns in the case of models. Nowak’s concept of idealization pro- vided an alternative account of this issue. It construed model application as concretizations of hypotheses which improve by accounting for exceptions. This appears to account for physical law. But it raises the problem of uniqueness: is the result unique, as physical law should be? Neo-Kantianism failed this test. Its solutions were circular justifications for claims of uniqueness. Nowak inherited the problem without resolving it.

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Stephen Turner
University of South Florida


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