When scientific models represent

International Studies in the Philosophy of Science 17 (1):59 – 74 (2003)
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Scientific models represent aspects of the empirical world. I explore to what extent this representational relationship, given the specific properties of models, can be analysed in terms of propositions to which truth or falsity can be attributed. For example, models frequently entail false propositions despite the fact that they are intended to say something "truthful" about phenomena. I argue that the representational relationship is constituted by model users "agreeing" on the function of a model, on the fit with data and on the aspects of a phenomenon that are modelled. Model users weigh the propositions entailed by a model and from this decide which of these propositions are crucial to the acceptance and continued use of the model. Thus, models represent phenomena when certain propositions they entail are true, but this alone does not exhaust the representational relationship. Therefore, the constraints that produce the choice of the relevant propositions in a model must also be examined and their analysis contributes to understanding the relationship between models and phenomena



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Citations of this work

Scientific representation: Against similarity and isomorphism.Mauricio Suárez - 2003 - International Studies in the Philosophy of Science 17 (3):225-244.
Modelling and representing: An artefactual approach to model-based representation.Tarja Knuuttila - 2011 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 42 (2):262-271.
The New Fiction View of Models.Fiora Salis - 2021 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 72 (3):717-742.

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The Dappled World: A Study of the Boundaries of Science.Nancy Cartwright - 1999 - New York, NY: Cambridge University Press.
Image and Mind.Stephen Michael Kosslyn - 1980 - Harvard University Press.
Models and Analogies in Science.Mary B. Hesse - 1963 - [Notre Dame, Ind.]: University of Notre Dame Press.

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