Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 91:49-59 (2022)
AbstractIdealization is commonly understood as distortion: representing things differently than how they actually are. In this paper, we outline an alternative artifactual approach that does not make misrepresentation central for the analysis of idealization. We examine the contrast between the Hodgkin-Huxley (1952a, b, c) and the Heimburg-Jackson (2005, 2006) models of the nerve impulse from the artifactual perspective, and argue that, since the two models draw upon different epistemic resources and research programs, it is often difficult to tell which features of a system the central assumptions involved are supposed to distort. Many idealizations are holistic in nature. They cannot be locally undone without dismantling the model, as they occupy a central position in the entire research program. Nor is their holistic character mainly related to the use of mathematical and statistical modeling techniques as portrayed by Rice (2018, 2019). We suggest that holistic idealizations are implicit theoretical and representational assumptions that can only be understood in relation to the conceptual and representational tools exploited in modeling and experimental practices. Such holistic idealizations play a pivotal role not just in individual models, but also in defining research programs.
Similar books and articles
An Artifactual Perspective on Idealization: Constant Capacitance and the Hodgkin and Huxley Model.Natalia Carrillo & Tarja Knuuttila - 2021 - In Alejandro Cassini & Juan Redmond (eds.), Models and Idealizations in Science: Fictional and Artefactual Approaches. Cham: Springer.
Models, Fictions and Artifacts.Tarja Knuuttila - 2021 - In Wenceslao J. Gonzalez (ed.), Language and Scientific Research. Cham: Palgrave Macmillan. pp. 199-22.
Idealization Ix:: Idealization in Contemporary Physics.Niall Shanks - 1998 - Rodopi.
Pragmatic Idealization and Structuralist Reconstructions of Theories.Michaela Haase - 1996 - Journal for General Philosophy of Science / Zeitschrift für Allgemeine Wissenschaftstheorie 27 (2):215-234.
Husserl, Galileo, and the Processes of Idealization.James W. Garrison - 1986 - Synthese 66 (2):329 - 338.
Added to PP
Historical graph of downloads
Citations of this work
Idealization, Representation, and Explanation in the Sciences.Melissa Jacquart, Elay Shech & Martin Zach - forthcoming - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A.
Economic Models as Cultural Artifacts: A Philosophical Primer.Jarosław Boruszewski & Krzysztof Nowak-Posadzy - 2021 - Filozofia Nauki 29 (3):63-87.
References found in this work
Galilean Idealization.Ernan McMullin - 1985 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 16 (3):247.
Minimal Model Explanations.Robert W. Batterman & Collin C. Rice - 2014 - Philosophy of Science 81 (3):349-376.
The Strategy of Model-Based Science.Peter Godfrey-Smith - 2006 - Biology and Philosophy 21 (5):725-740.
Who is a Modeler?Michael Weisberg - 2007 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 58 (2):207-233.
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.