Modeling without representation

Synthese 190 (16):3611-3623 (2013)
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How can mathematical models which represent the causal structure of the world incompletely or incorrectly have any scientific value? I argue that this apparent puzzle is an artifact of a realist emphasis on representation in the philosophy of modeling. I offer an alternative, pragmatic methodology of modeling, inspired by classic papers by modelers themselves. The crux of the view is that models developed for purposes other than explanation may be justified without reference to their representational properties



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Alistair Isaac
University of Edinburgh

Citations of this work

The diverse aims of science.Angela Potochnik - 2015 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 53:71-80.
Model Organisms as Scientific Representations.Lorenzo Sartori - forthcoming - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science.

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References found in this work

The dialectical biologist.Richard Levins - 1985 - Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press. Edited by Richard C. Lewontin.
Three Kinds of Idealization.Michael Weisberg - 2007 - Journal of Philosophy 104 (12):639-659.
Representation and Invariance of Scientific Structures.Patrick Suppes - 2002 - CSLI Publications (distributed by Chicago University Press).
The strategy of model-based science.Peter Godfrey-Smith - 2006 - Biology and Philosophy 21 (5):725-740.

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