AbstractScientific models need to be investigated if they are to provide valuable information about the systems they represent. Surprisingly, the epistemological question of what enables this investigation has hardly been investigated. Even authors who consider the inferential role of models as central, like Hughes or Bueno and Colyvan, content themselves with claiming that models contain mathematical resources that provide inferential power. We claim that these notions require further analysis and argue that mathematical formalisms contribute to this inferential role. We characterize formalisms, illustrate how they extend our mathematical resources, and highlight how distinct formalisms offer various inferential affordances.
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