Models, confirmation, and chaos

Philosophy of Science 65 (4):624-648 (1998)
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The use of idealized models in science is by now well-documented. Such models are typically constructed in a “top-down” fashion: starting with an intractable theory or law and working down toward the phenomenon. This view of model-building has motivated a family of confirmation schemes based on the convergence of prediction and observation. This paper considers how chaotic dynamics blocks the convergence view of confirmation and has forced experimentalists to take a different approach to model-building. A method known as “phase space reconstruction” not only reveals a lacuna in the philosophical literature on models, it also fails to conform to conventional views about how models are used to confirm a theory



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Jeffrey Koperski
Saginaw Valley State University

Citations of this work

Counterfactuals and Scientific Realism.Michael J. Shaffer - 2012 - London and Basingstoke: Palgrave MacMillan.
Stability in Cosmology, from Einstein to Inflation.C. D. McCoy - 2020 - In Claus Beisbart, Tilman Sauer & Christian Wüthrich (eds.), Thinking About Space and Time: 100 Years of Applying and Interpreting General Relativity. Cham: Birkhäuser. pp. 71-89.
Chaos.Robert Bishop - 2015 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.

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References found in this work

Models and Analogies in Science.Mary B. Hesse - 1966 - Philosophy and Rhetoric 3 (3):190-191.
The tool box of science: Tools for the building of models with a superconductivity example.Nancy Cartwright, Towfic Shomar & Mauricio Suárez - 1995 - Poznan Studies in the Philosophy of the Sciences and the Humanities 44:137-149.
Models in physics.Michael Redhead - 1980 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 31 (2):145-163.
Mathematical models: Questions of trustworthiness.Adam Morton - 1993 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 44 (4):659-674.

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