Fictional Models in Science


In this paper, I begin with a discussion of Giere’s recent work arguing against taking models as works of fiction. I then move on to explore a spectrum of scientific models that goes from the obviously fictional to the not so obviously fictional. And then I discuss the modeling of the unobservable and make a case for the idea that despite difficulties of defining them, unobservable systems are modeled in a fundamentally different way than the observable systems. While idealization and approximation is key to the making of models for the observable systems, they are in fact inoperable, at least not straightforwardly so, regarding models for the unobservable. And because of this point, which is so far neglected in the literature, I speculate that factionalism may have a better chance with models for the unobservable.



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Chuang Liu
University of Florida

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