Thin versus thick accounts of scientific representation

Synthese 195 (8):3433-3451 (2018)
  Copy   BIBTEX


This paper proposes a novel distinction between accounts of scientific representation: it distinguishes thin accounts from thick accounts. Thin accounts focus on the descriptive aspect of representation whereas thick accounts acknowledge the evaluative aspect of representation. Thin accounts focus on the question of what a representation as such is. Thick accounts start from the question of what an adequate representation is. In this paper, I give two arguments in favor of a thick account, the Argument of the Epistemic Aims of Modeling and the Argument of the Normativity of the Practice of Modeling. I also discuss possible objections to a thick account: the Argument from Misrepresentation and the Objections from Model Testing. The conclusion will be that the arguments on balance support a thick account of representation.



    Upload a copy of this work     Papers currently archived: 86,468

External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server

Through your library

Similar books and articles

The Thick-Esse /Thin-Essence View in Thomistic Personalism.Matthew Schaeffer - 2015 - American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly 89 (2):223-251.
Thick Concepts.Debbie Roberts - 2013 - Philosophy Compass 8 (8):677-688.
Introduction: A Thicker Epistemology?Ben Kotzee & Jeremy Wanderer - 2008 - Philosophical Papers 37 (3):337-343.
Shapelessness and the thick.Debbie Roberts - 2011 - Ethics 121 (3):489-520.
Slim Epistemology with a Thick Skin.Pekka Väyrynen - 2008 - Philosophical Papers 37 (3):389-412.
Thick Ethical Concepts.Pekka Väyrynen - 2016 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
Representation, Scientific.Brandon Boesch - 2015 - Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
What are Thick Concepts?Matti Eklund - 2011 - Canadian Journal of Philosophy 41 (1):25-49.
Thick Concepts.Brent G. Kyle - 2016 - Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
Thick Concepts.Simon Kirchin (ed.) - 2013 - Oxford, GB: Oxford University Press.
Moral Explanations, Thick and Thin.Brendan Cline - 2015 - Journal of Ethics and Social Philosophy 9 (2):1-20.
Moral Emotions and Thick Ethical Concepts.Sunny Yang - 2008 - Proceedings of the Xxii World Congress of Philosophy 10:469-479.
Thick Concepts and Holism about Reasons.Andrew Sneddon - 2010 - Journal of Value Inquiry 44 (4):461-468.
Tracking the real: Through thick and thin.Stathis Psillos - 2004 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 55 (3):393-409.
Objectionable thick concepts in denials.Pekka Väyrynen - 2009 - Philosophical Perspectives 23 (1):439-469.


Added to PP

45 (#296,719)

6 months
4 (#246,376)

Historical graph of downloads
How can I increase my downloads?

Author's Profile

Michael Poznic
Universität Karlsruhe

Citations of this work

Scientific representation.Roman Frigg & James Nguyen - 2016 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
Novel & worthy: creativity as a thick epistemic concept.Julia Sánchez-Dorado - 2020 - European Journal for Philosophy of Science 10 (3):1-23.
Generative Models.Sim-Hui Tee - 2020 - Erkenntnis 88 (1):23-41.

View all 6 citations / Add more citations

References found in this work

After virtue: a study in moral theory.Alasdair C. MacIntyre - 1981 - Notre Dame, Ind.: University of Notre Dame Press.
Ethics and the Limits of Philosophy.Bernard Williams - 1985 - Cambridge, Mass.: Routledge.

View all 42 references / Add more references