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Tarja Knuuttila
University of Vienna
Tarja Knuuttila
University of Vienna
  1.  94
    Modelling as Indirect Representation? The Lotka–Volterra Model Revisited.Tarja Knuuttila & Andrea Loettgers - 2017 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 68 (4):1007-1036.
    ABSTRACT Is there something specific about modelling that distinguishes it from many other theoretical endeavours? We consider Michael Weisberg’s thesis that modelling is a form of indirect representation through a close examination of the historical roots of the Lotka–Volterra model. While Weisberg discusses only Volterra’s work, we also study Lotka’s very different design of the Lotka–Volterra model. We will argue that while there are elements of indirect representation in both Volterra’s and Lotka’s modelling approaches, they are largely due to two (...)
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  2.  89
    Varieties of Noise: Analogical Reasoning in Synthetic Biology.Tarja Knuuttila & Andrea Loettgers - 2014 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 48:76-88.
    The picture of synthetic biology as a kind of engineering science has largely created the public understanding of this novel field, covering both its promises and risks. In this paper, we will argue that the actual situation is more nuanced and complex. Synthetic biology is a highly interdisciplinary field of research located at the interface of physics, chemistry, biology, and computational science. All of these fields provide concepts, metaphors, mathematical tools, and models, which are typically utilized by synthetic biologists by (...)
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  3.  52
    Imagination Extended and Embedded: Artifactual Versus Fictional Accounts of Models.Tarja Knuuttila - 2017 - Synthese 198 (Suppl 21):5077-5097.
    This paper presents an artifactual approach to models that also addresses their fictional features. It discusses first the imaginary accounts of models and fiction that set model descriptions apart from imagined-objects, concentrating on the latter :251–268, 2010; Frigg and Nguyen in The Monist 99:225–242, 2016; Godfrey-Smith in Biol Philos 21:725–740, 2006; Philos Stud 143:101–116, 2009). While the imaginary approaches accommodate surrogative reasoning as an important characteristic of scientific modeling, they simultaneously raise difficult questions concerning how the imagined entities are related (...)
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  4.  47
    Model Templates Within and Between Disciplines: From Magnets to Gases – and Socio-Economic Systems.Tarja Knuuttila & Andrea Loettgers - 2016 - European Journal for Philosophy of Science 6 (3):377-400.
    One striking feature of the contemporary modelling practice is its interdisciplinary nature. The same equation forms, and mathematical and computational methods, are used across different disciplines, as well as within the same discipline. Are there, then, differences between intra- and interdisciplinary transfer, and can the comparison between the two provide more insight on the challenges of interdisciplinary theoretical work? We will study the development and various uses of the Ising model within physics, contrasting them to its applications to socio-economic systems. (...)
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  5.  14
    Synthetic Fictions: Turning Imagined Biological Systems Into Concrete Ones.Tarja Knuuttila & Rami Koskinen - 2020 - Synthese 198 (9):8233-8250.
    The recent discussion of fictional models has focused on imagination, implicitly considering fictions as something nonconcrete. We present two cases from synthetic biology that can be viewed as concrete fictions. Both minimal cells and alternative genetic systems are modal in nature: they, as well as their abstract cousins, can be used to study unactualized possibilia. We approach these synthetic constructs through Vaihinger’s notion of a semi-fiction and Goodman’s notion of semifactuality. Our study highlights the relative existence of such concrete fictions. (...)
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  6.  20
    Epistemic Artifacts and the Modal Dimension of Modeling.Tarja Knuuttila - 2021 - European Journal for Philosophy of Science 11 (3):1-18.
    The epistemic value of models has traditionally been approached from a representational perspective. This paper argues that the artifactual approach evades the problem of accounting for representation and better accommodates the modal dimension of modeling. From an artifactual perspective, models are viewed as erotetic vehicles constrained by their construction and available representational tools. The modal dimension of modeling is approached through two case studies. The first portrays mathematical modeling in economics, while the other discusses the modeling practice of synthetic biology, (...)
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  7.  29
    Deidealization: No Easy Reversals.Tarja Knuuttila & Mary S. Morgan - 2019 - Philosophy of Science 86 (4):641-661.
    Deidealization as a topic in its own right has attracted remarkably little philosophical interest despite the extensive literature on idealization. One reason for this is the often implicit assumption that idealization and deidealization are, potentially at least, reversible processes. We question this assumption by analyzing the challenges of deidealization within a menu of four broad categories: deidealizing as recomposing, deidealizing as reformulating, deidealizing as concretizing, and deidealizing as situating. On closer inspection, models turn out much more inflexible than the reversal (...)
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  8.  68
    What Are Definitions of Life Good For? Transdisciplinary and Other Definitions in Astrobiology.Tarja Knuuttila & Andrea Loettgers - 2017 - Biology and Philosophy 32 (6):1185-1203.
    The attempt to define life has gained new momentum in the wake of novel fields such as synthetic biology, astrobiology, and artificial life. In a series of articles, Cleland, Chyba, and Machery claim that definitions of life seek to provide necessary and sufficient conditions for applying the concept of life—something that such definitions cannot, and should not do. We argue that this criticism is largely unwarranted. Cleland, Chyba, and Machery approach definitions of life as classifying devices, thereby neglecting their other (...)
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  9.  35
    Synthetic Modeling and Mechanistic Account: Material Recombination and Beyond.Tarja Knuuttila & Andrea Loettgers - 2013 - Philosophy of Science 80 (5):874-885.
    Recently, Bechtel and Abrahamsen have argued that mathematical models study the dynamics of mechanisms by recomposing the components and their operations into an appropriately organized system. We will study this claim through the practice of combinational modeling in circadian clock research. In combinational modeling, experiments on model organisms and mathematical/computational models are combined with a new type of model—a synthetic model. We argue that the strategy of recomposition is more complicated than what Bechtel and Abrahamsen indicate. Moreover, synthetic modeling as (...)
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  10.  39
    Contrasting Cases: The Lotka-Volterra Model Times Three.Tarja Knuuttila & Andrea Loettgers - 2016 - Boston Studies in the Philosophy of Science 319:151-178.
    How do philosophers of science make use of historical case studies? Are their accounts of historical cases purpose-built and lacking in evidential strength as a result of putting forth and discussing philosophical positions? We will study these questions through the examination of three different philosophical case studies. All of them focus on modeling and on Vito Volterra, contrasting his work to that of other theoreticians. We argue that the worries concerning the evidential role of historical case studies in philosophy are (...)
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  11.  19
    Magnets, Spins, and Neurons: The Dissemination of Model Templates Across Disciplines.Tarja Knuuttila & Andrea Loettgers - 2014 - The Monist 97 (3):280-300.
    One of the most conspicuous features of contemporary modeling practices is the dissemination of mathematical and computational methods across disciplinary boundaries. We study this process through two applications of the Ising model: the Sherrington-Kirkpatrick model of spin glasses and the Hopfield model of associative memory. The Hopfield model successfully transferred some basic ideas and mathematical methods originally developed within the study of magnetic systems to the field of neuroscience. As an analytical resource we use Paul Humphreys's discussion of computational and (...)
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  12.  25
    Mathematization in Synthetic Biology: Analogies, Templates, and Fictions.Andrea Loettgers & Tarja Knuuttila - 2017 - In Martin Carrier & Johannes Lenhard (eds.), Mathematics as a Tool. Tracing New Roles of Mathematics in the Sciences. Springer Verlag.
    In his famous article “The Unreasonable Effectiveness of Mathematics in the Natural Sciences” Eugen Wigner argues for a unique tie between mathematics and physics, invoking even religious language: “The miracle of the appropriateness of the language of mathematics for the formulation of the laws of physics is a wonderful gift which we neither understand nor deserve”. The possible existence of such a unique match between mathematics and physics has been extensively discussed by philosophers and historians of mathematics. Whatever the merits (...)
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  13.  53
    An Artifactual Perspective on Idealization: Constant Capacitance and the Hodgkin and Huxley Model.Natalia Carrillo & Tarja Knuuttila - 2021 - In Alejandro Cassini & Juan Redmond (eds.), Models and Idealizations in Science: Fictional and Artefactual Approaches. Cham: Springer.
    There are two traditions of thinking about idealization offering almost opposite views on their functioning and epistemic status. While one tradition views idealizations as epistemic deficiencies, the other one highlights the epistemic benefits of idealization. Both of these, however, identify idealization with misrepresentation. In this article, we instead approach idealization from the artifactual perspective, comparing it to the distortion-to-reality accounts of idealization, and exemplifying it through the case of the Hodgkin and Huxley model of nerve impulse. From the artifactual perspective, (...)
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  14.  20
    Magnetized Memories: Analogies and Templates in Model Transfer.Tarja Knuuttila & Andrea Loettgers - unknown
    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 (...)
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  15.  16
    Models, Fictions and Artifacts.Tarja Knuuttila - 2021 - In Wenceslao J. Gonzalez (ed.), Language and Scientific Research. Cham: Palgrave Macmillan. pp. 199-22.
    This paper discusses modeling from the artifactual perspective. The artifactual approach conceives models as erotetic devices. They are purpose-built systems of dependencies that are constrained in view of answering a pending scientific question, motivated by theoretical or empirical considerations. In treating models as artifacts, the artifactual approach is able to address the various languages of sciences that are overlooked by the traditional accounts that concentrate on the relationship of representation in an abstract and general manner. In contrast, the artifactual approach (...)
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  16.  9
    Biological Control Variously Materialized: Modeling, Experimentation and Exploration in Multiple Media.Tarja Knuuttila & Andrea Loettgers - 2021 - Perspectives on Science 29 (4):468-492.
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  17.  13
    Elämä ja mahdollinen elämä - Filosofisia näkökulmia.Rami Koskinen & Tarja Knuuttila - 2017 - In Kari Enqvist, Ilari Hetemäki & Teija Tiilikainen (eds.), Kaikki vapaudesta. Helsinki, Suomi: pp. 247-259.
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