The New Fiction View of Models

British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 72 (3):717-742 (2021)
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How do models represent reality? There are two conditions that scientific models must satisfy to be representations of real systems, the aboutness condition and the epistemic condition. In this article, I critically assess the two main fictionalist theories of models as representations, the indirect fiction view and the direct fiction view, with respect to these conditions. And I develop a novel proposal, what I call ‘the new fiction view of models’. On this view, models are akin to fictional stories; they represent real-world phenomena if they stand in a denotation relation with reality; and they enable knowledge of reality via the generation of theoretical hypotheses, model–world comparisons and direct attributions.



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Fiora Salis
University of York

Citations of this work

Scientific representation.Roman Frigg & James Nguyen - 2016 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
A critical analysis of Markovian monism.Majid D. Beni - 2021 - Synthese 199 (3-4):6407-6427.
Epistemic artifacts and the modal dimension of modeling.Tarja Knuuttila - 2021 - European Journal for Philosophy of Science 11 (3):1-18.

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References found in this work

The origin of concepts.Susan Carey - 2009 - New York: Oxford University Press.
True Enough.Catherine Z. Elgin - 2017 - Cambridge: MIT Press.
Aboutness.Stephen Yablo - 2014 - Oxford: Princeton University Press.
The Structure of scientific theories.Frederick Suppe (ed.) - 1974 - Urbana,: University of Illinois Press.
Truth in fiction.David K. Lewis - 1978 - American Philosophical Quarterly 15 (1):37–46.

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