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Alisa Bokulich
Boston University
  1.  73
    Towards a Taxonomy of the Model-Ladenness of Data.Alisa Bokulich - forthcoming - PSA: Proceedings of the Biennial Meeting of the Philosophy of Science Association.
    Model-data symbiosis is the view that there is an interdependent and mutually beneficial relationship between data and models, whereby models are not only data-laden, but data are also model-laden or model filtered. In this paper I elaborate and defend the second, more controversial, component of the symbiosis view. In particular, I construct a preliminary taxonomy of the different ways in which theoretical and simulation models are used in the production of data sets. These include data conversion, data correction, data interpolation, (...)
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  2. Fiction As a Vehicle for Truth: Moving Beyond the Ontic Conception.Alisa Bokulich - 2016 - The Monist 99 (3):260-279.
    Despite widespread evidence that fictional models play an explanatory role in science, resistance remains to the idea that fictions can explain. A central source of this resistance is a particular view about what explanations are, namely, the ontic conception of explanation. According to the ontic conception, explanations just are the concrete entities in the world. I argue this conception is ultimately incoherent and that even a weaker version of the ontic conception fails. Fictional models can succeed in offering genuine explanations (...)
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  3.  66
    Calibration, Coherence, and Consilience in Radiometric Measures of Geologic Time.Alisa Bokulich - forthcoming - Philosophy of Science.
    In 2012 the Geological Time Scale, which sets the temporal framework for studying the timing and tempo of all major geological, biological, and climatic events in Earth's history, had one-quarter of all its boundaries moved in a prima facie puzzling, widespread revision of radiometric dates. In this paper I show how recent work in the philosophy of metrology can help us understand this episode, and in turn how a careful consideration of this case elucidates the distinct, but related, notions of (...)
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  4. Searching for Noncausal Explanations in a Sea of Causes.Alisa Bokulich - 2018 - In Alexander Reutlinger & Juha Saatsi (eds.), Explanation Beyond Causation: Philosophical Perspectives on Non-Causal Explanations. Oxford University Press.
    In the spirit of explanatory pluralism, this chapter argues that causal and noncausal explanations of a phenomenon are compatible, each being useful for bringing out different sorts of insights. After reviewing a model-based account of scientific explanation, which can accommodate causal and noncausal explanations alike, an important core conception of noncausal explanation is identified. This noncausal form of model-based explanation is illustrated using the example of how Earth scientists in a subfield known as aeolian geomorphology are explaining the formation of (...)
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  5. Representing and Explaining: The Eikonic Conception of Scientific Explanation.Alisa Bokulich - 2018 - Philosophy of Science (5):793-805.
    The ontic conception of explanation, according to which explanations are "full-bodied things in the world," is fundamentally misguided. I argue instead for what I call the eikonic conception, according to which explanations are the product of an epistemic activity involving representations of the phenomena to be explained. What is explained in the first instance is a particular conceptualization of the explanandum phenomenon, contextualized within a given research program or explanatory project. I conclude that this eikonic conception has a number of (...)
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  6. Using Models to Correct Data: Paleodiversity and the Fossil Record.Alisa Bokulich - forthcoming - Synthese.
    Despite an enormous philosophical literature on models in science, surprisingly little has been written about data models and how they are constructed. In this paper, I examine the case of how paleodiversity data models are constructed from the fossil data. In particular, I show how paleontologists are using various model-based techniques to correct the data. Drawing on this research, I argue for the following related theses: First, the 'purity' of a data model is not a measure of its epistemic reliability. (...)
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  7. Losing Sight of the Forest for the Ψ: Beyond the Wavefunction Hegemony.Alisa Bokulich - 2019 - In Steven French & Juha Saatsi (eds.), Scientific Realism and the Quantum. Oxford University Press.
    Traditionally Ψ is used to stand in for both the mathematical wavefunction (the representation) and the quantum state (the thing in the world). This elision has been elevated to a metaphysical thesis by advocates of the view known as wavefunction realism. My aim in this paper is to challenge the hegemony of the wavefunction by calling attention to a little-known formulation of quantum theory that does not make use of the wavefunction in representing the quantum state. This approach, called Lagrangian (...)
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  8. On the Identity of Thought Experiments: Thought Experiments Rethought.Alisa Bokulich & Mélanie Frappier - 2017 - In Michael T. Stuart, Yiftach J. H. Fehige & James Robert Brown (eds.), The Routledge Companion to Thought Experiments. Routledge.
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  9. Models in the Geosciences.Alisa Bokulich & Naomi Oreskes - 2017 - In Lorenzo Magnani & Tommaso Wayne Bertolotti (eds.), Springer Handbook of Model-Based Science. Springer. pp. 891-911.
    The geosciences include a wide spectrum of disciplines ranging from paleontology to climate science, and involve studies of a vast range of spatial and temporal scales, from the deep-time history of microbial life to the future of a system no less immense and complex than the entire Earth. Modeling is thus a central and indispensable tool across the geosciences. Here, we review both the history and current state of model-based inquiry in the geosciences. Research in these fields makes use of (...)
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  10. Models and Explanation.Alisa Bokulich - 2017 - In Lorenzo Magnani & Tommaso Wayne Bertolotti (eds.), Springer Handbook of Model-Based Science. Springer. pp. 103-118.
    Detailed examinations of scientific practice have revealed that the use of idealized models in the sciences is pervasive. These models play a central role in not only the investigation and prediction of phenomena, but in their received scientific explanations as well. This has led philosophers of science to begin revising the traditional philosophical accounts of scientific explanation in order to make sense of this practice. These new model-based accounts of scientific explanation, however, raise a number of key questions: Can the (...)
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