Scientific Models

Edited by James Nguyen (Stockholm University, London School of Economics, School of Advanced Study, University of London)
About this topic
Summary Modeling is an increasingly important method in many fields of science. Scientific models are taken to be only partially similar to the phenomena they are used to study. Several philosophical questions result. For one, philosophers investigate how it is that models represent phenomena despite their differences, and what is responsible for models' epistemic success. This dovetails with questions about the nature of the representation relation. Philosophers also investigate abstraction and idealization in modeling, and some accord a further role to fictions. Finally, models are also significant in a different sense for the semantic view of theories. 
Key works Hesse 1963; Van Fraassen Bas 1980; Wimsatt (1987); Poland 1988; Morgan & Morrison 1999; Bailer-Jones 2009; Weisberg 2013.
Introductions Frigg and Hartmann (2006)
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  1. A quick overview of scientific representation and modelling. [REVIEW]Dimitri Coelho Mollo - forthcoming - Metascience:1-4.
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  2. Taking model pursuit seriously.HyeJeong Han - 2023 - European Journal for Philosophy of Science 13 (2):1-24.
    This paper aims to develop an account of the pursuitworthiness of models based on a view of models as epistemic tools. This paper is motivated by the historical question of why, in the 1960s, when many scientists hardly found QSAR models attractive, some pharmaceutical scientists pursued Quantitative Structure–Activity Relationship (QSAR) models despite the lack of potential for theoretical development or empirical success. This paper addresses this question by focusing on how models perform their heuristic functions as epistemic tools rather than (...)
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  3. Modals model models: scientific modeling and counterfactual reasoning.Daniel Dohrn - 2023 - Synthese 201 (5):1-22.
    Counterfactual reasoning has been used to account for many aspects of scientific reasoning. More recently, it has also been used to account for the scientific practice of modeling. Truth in a model is truth in a situation considered as counterfactual. When we reason with models, we reason with counterfactuals. Focusing on selected models like Bohr’s atom model or models of population dynamics, I present an account of how the imaginative development of a counterfactual supposition leads us from reality to interesting (...)
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  4. Desarrollos actuales de la metateoría estructuralista: problemas y discusiones.José A. Díez & Pablo Lorenzano (eds.) - 2002 - Bernal, Pcia. de Buenos Aires: Universidad Nacional de Quilmes.
    This book -which initiates the collection "Philosophy and Science" of the National University of Quilmes Publishing House- contains almost all the papers presented at the I International Meeting "Current Perspectives of Metatheoretical Structuralism", which, with the purpose of gathering a small group of distinguished Spanish-speaking philosophers interested in discussing the epistemological and methodological problems of science from the perspective of the structuralist view, was held in Zacatecas, Mexico, from February 16 to 20, 1998.
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  5. On the epistemic contribution of financial models.Alexander Mebius - 2023 - Journal of Economic Methodology 30 (1):49-62.
    Financial modelling is an essential tool for studying the possibility of financial transactions. This paper argues that financial models are conventional tools widely used in formulating and establishing possibility claims about a prospective investment transaction, from a set of governing possibility assumptions. What is distinctive about financial models is that they articulate how a transaction possibly could occur in a non-actual investment scenario given a limited base of possibility conditions assumed in the model. For this reason, it is argued that (...)
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  6. Standard Aberration: Cancer Biology and the Modeling Account of Normal Function.Seth Goldwasser - 2023 - Biology and Philosophy 38 (1):(4) 1-33.
    Cancer biology features the ascription of normal functions to parts of cancers. At least some ascriptions of function in cancer biology track local normality of parts within the global abnormality of the aberration to which those parts belong. That is, cancer biologists identify as functions activities that, in some sense, parts of cancers are supposed to perform, despite cancers themselves having no purpose. The present paper provides a theory to accommodate these normal function ascriptions—I call it the Modeling Account of (...)
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  7. A Model Solution: On the Compatibility of Predictive Processing and Embodied Cognition.Luke Kersten - 2023 - Minds and Machines 33 (1):113-134.
    Predictive processing (PP) and embodied cognition (EC) have emerged as two influential approaches within cognitive science in recent years. Not only have PP and EC been heralded as “revolutions” and “paradigm shifts” but they have motivated a number of new and interesting areas of research. This has prompted some to wonder how compatible the two views might be. This paper looks to weigh in on the issue of PP-EC compatibility. After outlining two recent proposals, I argue that further clarity can (...)
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  8. The Literalist Fallacy and the Free Energy Principle: Model-Building, Scientific Realism, and Instrumentalism.Michael David Kirchhoff, Julian Kiverstein & Ian Robertson - forthcoming - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science.
  9. Introduction.Ulrich Gähde & Stephan Hartmann - 2013 - In Ulrich Gähde, Stephan Hartmann & Jörn Henning Wolf (eds.), Models, Simulations, and the Reduction of Complexity. De Gruyter. pp. 1-8.
    Modern science is, to a large extent, a model-building activity. But how are models contructed? How are they related to theories and data? How do they explain complex scientific phenomena, and which role do computer simulations play here? These questions have kept philosophers of science busy for many years, and much work has been done to identify modeling as the central activity of theoretical science. At the same time, these questions have been addressed by methodologically-minded scientists, albeit from a different (...)
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  10. Model robustness in economics: the admissibility and evaluation of tractability assumptions.Ryan O’Loughlin & Dan Li - 2022 - Synthese 200 (1):1-23.
    Lisciandra poses a challenge for robustness analysis as applied to economic models. She argues that substituting tractability assumptions risks altering the main mathematical structure of the model, thereby preventing the possibility of meaningfully evaluating the same model under different assumptions. In such cases RA is argued to be inapplicable. However, Lisciandra is mistaken to take the goal of RA as keeping the mathematical properties of tractability assumptions intact. Instead, RA really aims to keep the modeling component while varying the corresponding (...)
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  11. Sociologie fondamentale. Etude d'épistémologie.Dominique Raynaud - 2021 - Paris: Editions Matériologiques.
    Ce livre est un livre d’épistémologie de la sociologie. L’objectif est d’appliquer des méthodes analytiques pour clarifier le vocabulaire, expliciter des relations non-apparentes entre concepts, dégager la portée d’une méthode, ou souligner les incohérences d’un programme de recherche. Les questions épineuses ne sont pas écartéees: Comment clarifier des notions confuses? Peut-on mathématiser les concepts sociologiques? Peut-on pratiquer la sociologie comme on pratique les sciences naturelles? Quelle est la place du déterminisme? Chaque question est examinée à la fois dans sa structure (...)
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  12. Model spread and progress in climate modelling.Julie Jebeile & Anouk Barberousse - 2021 - European Journal for Philosophy of Science 11 (3):1-19.
    Convergence of model projections is often considered by climate scientists to be an important objective in so far as it may indicate the robustness of the models’ core hypotheses. Consequently, the range of climate projections from a multi-model ensemble, called “model spread”, is often expected to reduce as climate research moves forward. However, the successive Assessment Reports of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change indicate no reduction in model spread, whereas it is indisputable that climate science has made improvements in (...)
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  13. Extending Similarity-based Epistemology of Modality with Models.Ylwa Sjölin Wirling - 2022 - Ergo: An Open Access Journal of Philosophy 8 (45).
    Empiricist modal epistemologies can be attractive, but are often limited in the range of modal knowledge they manage to secure. In this paper, I argue that one such account – similarity-based modal empiricism – can be extended to also cover justification of many scientifically interesting possibility claims. Drawing on recent work on modelling in the philosophy of science, I suggest that scientific modelling is usefully seen as the creation and investigation of relevantly similar epistemic counterparts of real target systems. On (...)
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  14. The math is not the territory: navigating the free energy principle.Mel Andrews - 2021 - Biology and Philosophy 36 (3):1-19.
    Much has been written about the free energy principle (FEP), and much misunderstood. The principle has traditionally been put forth as a theory of brain function or biological self-organisation. Critiques of the framework have focused on its lack of empirical support and a failure to generate concrete, falsifiable predictions. I take both positive and negative evaluations of the FEP thus far to have been largely in error, and appeal to a robust literature on scientific modelling to rectify the situation. A (...)
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  15. Resenha do livro Imagens de natureza, imagens de ciência (2ª edição revista e ampliada. Rio de Janeiro: Eduerj, 2016), de Paulo C. Abrantes. [REVIEW]Bruno Camilo de Oliveira - 2020 - Revista Helius 3:1250-1263.
    The second edition of the work of the Brazilian physicist Paulo C. Abrantes (2016), entitled Images of nature, images of science, is a good alternative for students of history and philosophy of science. The reason is Abrantes' thesis in this work: to defend that the development of scientific knowledge is dependent on the influence of different images of "nature" and "science" existing during the history of Western scientific-philosophical thought; and an advocate for the historian of science Studying as reasons that (...)
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  16. The dynamical renaissance in neuroscience.Luis H. Favela - 2020 - Synthese 1 (1):1-25.
    Although there is a substantial philosophical literature on dynamical systems theory in the cognitive sciences, the same is not the case for neuroscience. This paper attempts to motivate increased discussion via a set of overlapping issues. The first aim is primarily historical and is to demonstrate that dynamical systems theory is currently experiencing a renaissance in neuroscience. Although dynamical concepts and methods are becoming increasingly popular in contemporary neuroscience, the general approach should not be viewed as something entirely new to (...)
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  17. Disambiguation of Social Polarization Concepts and Measures.Aaron Bramson, Patrick Grim, Daniel J. Singer, Steven Fisher, William Berger, Graham Sack & Carissa Flocken - 2016 - Journal of Mathematical Sociology 40:80-111.
    ABSTRACT This article distinguishes nine senses of polarization and provides formal measures for each one to refine the methodology used to describe polarization in distributions of attitudes. Each distinct concept is explained through a definition, formal measures, examples, and references. We then apply these measures to GSS data regarding political views, opinions on abortion, and religiosity—topics described as revealing social polarization. Previous breakdowns of polarization include domain-specific assumptions and focus on a subset of the distribution’s features. This has conflated multiple, (...)
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  18. Philosophical Analysis in Modeling Polarization: Notes from a Work in Progress.Patrick Grim, Aaron Bramson, Daniel J. Singer, Stephen Fisher, Carissa Flocken & William Berger - 2013 - In Paul Youngman & Mirsad Hadzikadik (eds.), Complexity and the Human Experience: Modeling Complexity in the Humanities and Social Sciences. Pan Sanford.
    A first take, matured in later work, in modeling belief polarization.
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  19. Estrategias tropológicas en ciencia.Israel Salas Llanas - 2019 - Dissertation, Universidad Autónoma de Madrid
    Para el constructivismo, la ciencia y la cognición comparten intereses similares. Ambos dominios pueden describirse como dos sistemas entrelazados que se activan mutuamente y se modulan entre sí a través de un lazo interno de retroalimentación, lazo que opera mediante la dinámica interna representativa en el caso de la cognición y mediante la dinámica del desarrollo teórico en el caso de la ciencia. Cada uno de estos dominios —ciencia y cognición— busca generar un marco de interacción adecuado que garantice, por (...)
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  20. A Critical Look on Critical Realism.Agustina Borella - 2012 - Perspectives on Epistemology of Economics:183-207.
    Tony Lawson, founder of The Social Ontology Group and The Realist Workshop of Cambridge, has proposed critical realism to reorient economics. The transformation of the social world that Lawson tries, emerges from the adherence to critical realism, this is, from taking the transcendental realism of Roy Bhaskar to the social realm. With the purpose of deepening the criticisms to this movement, we will specify what is critical realism, and which are the philosophical assumptions of the mainstream according to this author. (...)
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  21. Modelar o no modelar: esa no es la cuestión. ¿Hay algo intermedio?Agustina Borella - 2017 - Revista Perspectivas de Las Ciencias Económicas y Jurídicas 7 (2):89-100.
    The present paper tries to show that in the discussion on whether it is better to model or not to capture truth in the social world, that is not what is mainly being discussed. We put forward that the main question in this discussion is, essentially, ontological, not methodological. As a representative of the “to model position” we will refer to Uskali Mäki’s Possible Realism, and as one ofthe “notto model position” we will consider Tony Lawson’s Critical Realism. What will (...)
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  22. Pinceladas de Realismo Finlandés. [REVIEW]Agustina Borella - 2013 - Filosofia de la Economia 1 (1):131-137.
    La presente obra ofrece un análisis crítico de la filosofía de la economía de Uskali Mäki; en particular de la consideración realista científica de la economía. Se intenta a lo largo del texto responder, de algún modo, a las preguntas que plantea Lehtinen en la introducción: “¿Están los economistas aspirando en absoluto a la verdad, o están solamente jugando un juego intelectual en que tales supuestos son aceptables por alguna razón misteriosa? ¿Están estudiando la economía en serio? ¿Están simplemente desinteresados (...)
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  23. Trazos- Ensayos de Filosofía para el Mundo Social.Agustina Borella (ed.) - 2020 - Buenos Aires, CABA, Argentina: Grupo Unión.
    Entender algo sobre un mundo que se nos presenta de modo desordenado e incompleto constituye buena parte de la tarea de la filosofía y de la ciencia. La racionalidad, los modelos, y el mundo social introducen preocupaciones propias de la filosofía de la ciencia en general y de la epistemología de la economía en particular. Los aportes de Popper, Lawson, Mäki, Hayek y Cartwright se expresan en estos trazos como intentos abiertos para alcanzar a comprender nuestro mundo.
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  24. Fundamento Ontológico del Modelo en Hayek.Agustina Borella - 2019 - Procesos de Mercado. Revista Europea de Economía Política 2 (XVI):103-124.
    In the debate on realism of models in economics, the Austrian School and Hayekin particular, seem to have, in a certain way, remained outside. Assuming neoclassical models asunrealistic, the theory of the market as a process looks like a more realistic proposal. However, oneof the fundamental issue s in Hayek’s dissent is not so much the unrealism of the assumptions, but that the market equilibrium theory was not correctly raised, especially with regards to the perfectknowledge assumption. Despite this, in this (...)
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  25. Models, information and meaning.Marc Artiga - 2020 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C: Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences 82:101284.
    There has recently been an explosion of formal models of signalling, which have been developed to learn about different aspects of meaning. This paper discusses whether that success can also be used to provide an original naturalistic theory of meaning in terms of information or some related notion. In particular, it argues that, although these models can teach us a lot about different aspects of content, at the moment they fail to support the idea that meaning just is some kind (...)
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  26. How disunity matters to the history of cybernetics in the human sciences in the United States, 1940–80.Ronald Kline - 2020 - History of the Human Sciences 33 (1):12-35.
    Rather than assume a unitary cybernetics, I ask how its disunity mattered to the history of the human sciences in the United States from about 1940 to 1980. I compare the work of four prominent social scientists – Herbert Simon, George Miller, Karl Deutsch, and Talcott Parsons – who created cybernetic models in psychology, economics, political science, and sociology with the work of anthropologist Gregory Bateson, and relate their interpretations of cybernetics to those of such well-known cyberneticians as Norbert Wiener, (...)
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  27. The use and limitations of null-model-based hypothesis testing.Mingjun Zhang - 2020 - Biology and Philosophy 35 (2):1-22.
    In this article I give a critical evaluation of the use and limitations of null-model-based hypothesis testing as a research strategy in the biological sciences. According to this strategy, the null model based on a randomization procedure provides an appropriate null hypothesis stating that the existence of a pattern is the result of random processes or can be expected by chance alone, and proponents of other hypotheses should first try to reject this null hypothesis in order to demonstrate their own (...)
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  28. From a boson to the standard model Higgs: a case study in confirmation and model dynamics.Cristin Chall, Martin King, Peter Mättig & Michael Stöltzner - 2019 - Synthese 198 (Suppl 16):3779-3811.
    Our paper studies the anatomy of the discovery of the Higgs boson at the Large Hadron Collider and its influence on the broader model landscape of particle physics. We investigate the phases of this discovery, which led to a crucial reconfiguration of the model landscape of elementary particle physics and eventually to a confirmation of the standard model. A keyword search of preprints covering the electroweak symmetry breaking sector of particle physics, along with an examination of physicists own understanding of (...)
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  29. Special Theory of Relativity in South Korean High School Textbooks and New Teaching Guidelines.Jinyeong Gim - 2016 - Science & Education 25 (5-6):575-610.
    South Korean high school students are being taught Einstein’s Special Theory of Relativity. In this article, I examine the portrayal of this theory in South Korean high school physics textbooks and discuss an alternative method used to solve the analyzed problems. This examination of how these South Korean textbooks present this theory has revealed two main flaws: First, the textbooks’ contents present historically fallacious backgrounds regarding the origin of this theory because of a blind dependence on popular undergraduate textbooks, which (...)
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  30. Actual causation and the art of modeling.Joseph Halpern & Christopher Hitchcock - 2010 - In Causality, Probability, and Heuristics: A Tribute to Judea Pearl. London: College Publications. pp. 383-406.
  31. Scientific modelling in generative grammar and the dynamic turn in syntax.Ryan M. Nefdt - 2016 - Linguistics and Philosophy 39 (5):357-394.
    In this paper, I address the issue of scientific modelling in contemporary linguistics, focusing on the generative tradition. In so doing, I identify two common varieties of linguistic idealisation, which I call determination and isolation respectively. I argue that these distinct types of idealisation can both be described within the remit of Weisberg’s :639–659, 2007) minimalist idealisation strategy in the sciences. Following a line set by Blutner :27–35, 2011), I propose this minimalist idealisation analysis for a broad construal of the (...)
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  32. Mathematical Models, Rational Choice, and the Search for Cold War Culture.Paul Erickson - 2010 - Isis 101:386-392.
  33. So simple a thing as a star: the Eddington–Jeans debate over astrophysical phenomenology.Matthew Stanley - 2007 - British Journal for the History of Science 40 (1):53-82.
    Theoretical astrophysics emerged as a significant research programme with the construction of a series of stellar models by A. S. Eddington. This paper examines the controversies surrounding those models as a way of understanding the development and justification of new theoretical technologies. In particular, it examines the challenges raised against Eddington by James Jeans, and explores how the two astronomers championed different visions of what it meant to do science. Jeans argued for a scientific method based on certainty and completeness, (...)
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  34. Model change and reliability in scientific inference.Erich Kummerfeld & David Danks - 2014 - Synthese 191 (12):2673-2693.
    One persistent challenge in scientific practice is that the structure of the world can be unstable: changes in the broader context can alter which model of a phenomenon is preferred, all without any overt signal. Scientific discovery becomes much harder when we have a moving target, and the resulting incorrect understandings of relationships in the world can have significant real-world and practical consequences. In this paper, we argue that it is common (in certain sciences) to have changes of context that (...)
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  35. Galton's contribution to the theory of evolution with special reference to his use of models and metaphors.J. S. Wilkie - 1955 - Annals of Science 11 (3):194-205.
  36. Environmental Risk Analysis: Robustness Is Essential for Precaution.Jan Sprenger - 2012 - Philosophy of Science 79 (5):881-892.
    Precaution is a relevant and much-invoked value in environmental risk analysis, as witnessed by the ongoing vivid discussion about the precautionary principle (PP). This article argues (i) against purely decision-theoretic explications of PP; (ii) that the construction, evaluation, and use of scientific models falls under the scope of PP; and (iii) that epistemic and decision-theoretic robustness are essential for precautionary policy making. These claims are elaborated and defended by means of case studies from climate science and conservation biology.
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  37. D. Rothbart, Editor, Modeling: Gateway to the unknown. A work by Rom Harré, Elsevier, London (2004) ISBN 0-444-51464-3 (300pp., US$ 119 hardbound). [REVIEW]M. Morrison - 2005 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part B: Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics 36 (3):583-585.
  38. On Hodgkin and Huxley's theory of excitable membranes.Ulrich Müller & Stephan Pilatus - 1982 - Theoretical Medicine and Bioethics 3 (2):193-208.
    Using Sneed's metatheory an attempt is made to reconstruct Hodgkin and Huxley's theory of excitation of cell membranes. The structure of this theory is uncovered by defining set-theoretical predicates for the partial potential models, potential models, and models of the theory. The function of permeability is said to be the only theoretical function with respect to this theory. The main underlying assumptions of the theory are briefly outlined.
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  39. Modeling and experimenting.Isabelle Peschard - 2009 - In Paul Humphreys & Cyrille Imbert (eds.), Models, Simulations, and Representations. Routledge.
    Experimental activity is traditionally identified with testing the empirical implications or numerical simulations of models against data. In critical reaction to the ‘tribunal view’ on experiments, this essay will show the constructive contribution of experimental activity to the processes of modeling and simulating. Based on the analysis of a case in fluid mechanics, it will focus specifically on two aspects. The first is the controversial specification of the conditions in which the data are to be obtained. The second is conceptual (...)
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  40. Phenomena, data and theories: a special issue of Synthese.Peter Machamer - 2011 - Synthese 182 (1):1-5.
    The papers collected here are the result of an INTERNATIONAL SYMPOSIUM: Data · Phenomena · Theories: What’s the notion of a scientific phenomenon good for? held in Heidelberg in September 2008. The event was organized by the research group Causality, Cognition, and the Constitution of Scientific Phenomena in cooperation with Philosophy Department at the University of Heidelberg (Peter McLaughlin and Andreas Kemmerling) and the IWH Heidelberg. The symposium was supported by the Emmy-Noether-Programm der Deutschen Forschungsgemeinschaft and by Stiftung Universitat Heidelebrg (...)
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  41. A multiagent approach to modelling complex phenomena.Francesco Amigoni & Viola Schiaffonati - 2008 - Foundations of Science 13 (2):113-125.
    Designing models of complex phenomena is a difficult task in engineering that can be tackled by composing a number of partial models to produce a global model of the phenomena. We propose to embed the partial models in software agents and to implement their composition as a cooperative negotiation between the agents. The resulting multiagent system provides a global model of a phenomenon. We applied this approach in modelling two complex physiological processes: the heart rate regulation and the glucose-insulin metabolism. (...)
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  42. Explaining new phenomena in terms of previous phenomena.Rens Bod - unknown
    It has become increasingly clear that natural phenomena cannot be formally deduced from laws but that almost every phenomenon has its own particular way of being linked to higher-level generalizations, usually via approximations, normalizations and corrections. This article deals with the following problem: if there are no general principles to link laws to phenomena, and if each phenomenon has its own way of being explained, how can we -- or how can a theory -- explain any new phenomenon? I will (...)
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  43. How science is applied in technology.Mieke Boon - 2006 - International Studies in the Philosophy of Science 20 (1):27 – 47.
    Unlike basic sciences, scientific research in advanced technologies aims to explain, predict, and (mathematically) describe not phenomena in nature, but phenomena in technological artefacts, thereby producing knowledge that is utilized in technological design. This article first explains why the covering-law view of applying science is inadequate for characterizing this research practice. Instead, the covering-law approach and causal explanation are integrated in this practice. Ludwig Prandtl's approach to concrete fluid flows is used as an example of scientific research in the engineering (...)
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  44. Braucht die wissenschaft eine theorie?Klaus Fischer - 1995 - Journal for General Philosophy of Science / Zeitschrift für Allgemeine Wissenschaftstheorie 26 (2):227 - 257.
    Can Science do without a Theory? The main questions that are discussed are as follows: 1) Do we have - as a matter of fact - a general philosophy of science which is comprehensive and powerful enough to present a solution to all the relevant methodological and metatheoretical problems arising within the sciences? 2) Do scientists feel a need for such a general metatheoretical tool? 3) In the probable case of a negative answer to both questions posed above: what, if (...)
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  45. Rejoinder.David Freedman - 1995 - Foundations of Science 1 (1):69-83.
    My favorite opponent in this debate once made a remarkable concession, not that it interfered with business as usual:No sensible social scientist believes any particular specification, coefficient estimate, or standard error. Social science theories ... imply that specifications and parameters constant over situations do not exist ... One searches for qualitative theory ... not for quantitative specifications Achen (1987, p.149). . With Hooke's law and the like, we are estimating parameters in specifications that are constant across time—at least to a (...)
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  46. Emulation, reduction, and emergence in dynamical systems.Marco Giunti - 2005 - In Proceedings of the 6th Systems Science European Congress, Paris, September 19-22, 2005. (CD-ROM). AFSCET.
    The received view about emergence and reduction is that they are incompatible categories. I argue in this paper that, contrary to the received view, emergence and reduction can hold together. To support this thesis, I focus attention on dynamical systems and, on the basis of a general representation theorem, I argue that, as far as these systems are concerned, the emulation relationship is sufficient for reduction (intuitively, a dynamical system DS1 emulates a second dynamical system DS2 when DS1 exactly reproduces (...)
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  47. Visual cognition: Where cognition and culture meet.David C. Gooding - 2006 - Philosophy of Science 73 (5):688-698.
    Case studies of diverse scientific fields show how scientists use a range of resources to generate new interpretative models and to establish their plausibility as explanations of a domain. They accomplish this by manipulating imagistic representations in particular ways. I show that scientists in different domains use the same basic transformations. Common features of these transformations indicate that general cognitive strategies of interpretation, simplification, elaboration, and argumentation are at work. Social and historical studies of science emphasize the diversity of local (...)
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  48. Natural science as a hermeneutic of instrumentation.Patrick Heelan - 1983 - Philosophy of Science 50 (2):181-204.
    The author proposes the thesis that all perception, including observation in natural science, is hermeneutical as well as causal; that is, the perceiver (or observer) learns to 'read' instrumental or other perceptual stimuli as one learns to read a text. This hermeneutical aspect at the heart of natural science is located where it might be least expected, within acts of scientific observation. In relation to the history of science, the question is addressed to what extent the hermeneutical component within scientific (...)
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  49. The ideal scientific theory: A thought experiment.Ervin Laszlo - 1973 - Philosophy of Science 40 (1):75-87.
    To overcome sociopsychologism and historical relativism, the growth of science is deduced from the combined effect of postulated invariant controls, in the form of enduring ideals of science, in their interaction with nature. The thus constituted "cybernetics-of-science" concept permits extrapolation from present to future states of science. The ideal scientific theory is the goal or target toward which the scientific process is oriented, by virtue of its invariant controls. The form of the ideal theory can thus be extrapolated, and some (...)
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  50. On the locality of data and claims about phenomena.Sabina Leonelli - 2009 - Philosophy of Science 76 (5):737-749.
    Bogen and Woodward characterized data as embedded in the context in which they are produced (‘local’) and claims about phenomena as retaining their significance beyond that context (‘nonlocal’). This view does not fit sciences such as biology, which successfully disseminate data via packaging processes that include appropriate labels, vehicles, and human interventions. These processes enhance the evidential scope of data and ensure that claims about phenomena are understood in the same way across research communities. I conclude that the degree of (...)
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