Donal Khosrowi
Universität Hannover
In Simulation and Similarity, Michael Weisberg offers a similarity-based account of the model–world relation, which is the relation in virtue of which successful models are successful. Weisberg’s main idea is that models are similar to targets in virtue of sharing features. An important concern about Weisberg’s account is that it remains silent on what it means for models and targets to share features, and consequently on how feature-sharing contributes to models’ epistemic success. I consider three potential ways of concretizing the concept of shared features: as identical, quantitatively sufficiently close, and sufficiently similar features. I argue that each of these concretizations faces significant challenges, leaving unclear how Weisberg’s account substantially contributes to elucidating the relation in virtue of which successful models are successful. Against this background, I outline a pluralistic revision and argue that this revision may not only help Weisberg's account evade several of the problems that I raise, but also offers a novel perspective on the model–world relation more generally. 1Introduction 2Weisberg’s Feature-Sharing Account 3What Is a Shared Feature? 3.1Identity 3.2Sufficient closeness 3.3Sufficient similarity 4Turning Weisberg’s Account ‘Upside Down’ 5Conclusion
Keywords Model-world relation  similarity  Weisberg  shared features  feature-sharing  pluralism  representation  isomorphism
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1093/bjps/axy029
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

PhilArchive copy

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 69,979
Through your library

References found in this work BETA

How the Laws of Physics Lie.Nancy Cartwright - 1983 - Oxford, England: Oxford University Press.
Explaining Science: A Cognitive Approach.Jeffrey S. Poland - 1988 - Philosophical Review 100 (4):653-656.

View all 36 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

Scientific Representation.Roman Frigg & James Nguyen - 2016 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
It’s Not a Game: Accurate Representation with Toy Models.James Nguyen - 2020 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 71 (3):1013-1041.
Mirrors Without Warnings.Roman Frigg & James Nguyen - 2019 - Synthese 198 (3):2427-2447.
Normative Models and Their Success.Lukas Beck & Marcel Jahn - 2021 - Philosophy of the Social Sciences 51 (2):123-150.

View all 7 citations / Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Getting Serious About Similarity.Wendy S. Parker - 2015 - Biology and Philosophy 30 (2):267-276.
Modelling as Indirect Representation? The Lotka–Volterra Model Revisited.Tarja Knuuttila & Andrea Loettgers - 2017 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 68 (4):1007-1036.
Michael Weisberg * Simulation and Similarity: Using Models to Understand the World. [REVIEW]Eran Tal - 2015 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 66 (2):469-473.
Representation and Similarity: Suárez on Necessary and Sufficient Conditions of Scientific Representation.Michael Poznic - 2016 - Journal for General Philosophy of Science / Zeitschrift für Allgemeine Wissenschaftstheorie 47 (2):331-347.
Similarity and Scientific Representation.Adam Toon - 2012 - International Studies in the Philosophy of Science 26 (3):241-257.
Scientific Representation: Against Similarity and Isomorphism.Mauricio Suárez - 2003 - International Studies in the Philosophy of Science 17 (3):225-244.


Added to PP index

Total views
67 ( #170,968 of 2,504,877 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
8 ( #91,044 of 2,504,877 )

How can I increase my downloads?


My notes