How models are used to represent reality

Philosophy of Science 71 (5):742-752 (2004)
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Abstract

Most recent philosophical thought about the scientific representation of the world has focused on dyadic relationships between language-like entities and the world, particularly the semantic relationships of reference and truth. Drawing inspiration from diverse sources, I argue that we should focus on the pragmatic activity of representing, so that the basic representational relationship has the form: Scientists use models to represent aspects of the world for specific purposes. Leaving aside the terms "law" and "theory," I distinguish principles, specific conditions, models, hypotheses, and generalizations. I argue that scientists use designated similarities between models and aspects of the world to form both hypotheses and generalizations.

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Ronald Giere
Last affiliation: University of Minnesota

Citations of this work

The New Mechanical Philosophy.Stuart Glennan - 2017 - Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Bayesian Cognitive Science, Unification, and Explanation.Stephan Hartmann & Matteo Colombo - 2017 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 68 (2).
The Ontic Account of Scientific Explanation.Carl F. Craver - 2014 - In Marie I. Kaiser, Oliver R. Scholz, Daniel Plenge & Andreas Hüttemann (eds.), Explanation in the special science: The case of biology and history. Dordrecht: Springer. pp. 27-52.
Model Evaluation: An Adequacy-for-Purpose View.Wendy S. Parker - 2020 - Philosophy of Science 87 (3):457-477.

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References found in this work

How the laws of physics lie.Nancy Cartwright - 1983 - New York: Oxford University Press.
Laws and symmetry.Bas C. Van Fraassen - 1989 - New York: Oxford University Press.
The scientific image.C. Van Fraassen Bas - 1980 - New York: Oxford University Press.

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