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Agnes Bolinska
University of South Carolina
  1.  27
    Negotiating History: Contingency, Canonicity, and Case Studies.Agnes Bolinska & Joseph D. Martin - 2020 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 80:37–46.
    Objections to the use of historical case studies for philosophical ends fall into two categories. Methodological objections claim that historical accounts and their uses by philosophers are subject to various biases. We argue that these challenges are not special; they also apply to other epistemic practices. Metaphysical objections, on the other hand, claim that historical case studies are intrinsically unsuited to serve as evidence for philosophical claims, even when carefully constructed and used, and so constitute a distinct class of challenge. (...)
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  2. Epistemic Representation, Informativeness and the Aim of Faithful Representation.Agnes Bolinska - 2013 - Synthese 190 (2):219-234.
    In this paper, I take scientific models to be epistemic representations of their target systems. I define an epistemic representation to be a tool for gaining information about its target system and argue that a vehicle’s capacity to provide specific information about its target system—its informativeness—is an essential feature of this kind of representation. I draw an analogy to our ordinary notion of interpretation to show that a user’s aim of faithfully representing the target system is necessary for securing this (...)
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  3. Successful Visual Epistemic Representation.Agnes Bolinska - 2016 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 56:153-160.
    In this paper, I characterize visual epistemic representations as concrete two- or three-dimensional tools for conveying information about aspects of their target systems or phenomena of interest. I outline two features of successful visual epistemic representation: that the vehicle of representation contain sufficiently accurate information about the phenomenon of interest for the user’s purpose, and that it convey this information to the user in a manner that makes it readily available to her. I argue that actual epistemic representation may involve (...)
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  4.  9
    Informative Models: Idealization and Abstraction.Mauricio Suárez & Agnes Bolinska - 2021 - In Alejandro Cassini & Juan Redmond (eds.), Models and Idealizations in Science: Artifactual and Fictional Approaches. Springer Verlag. pp. 71-85.
    Mauricio Suárez and Agnes Bolinska apply the tools of communication theory to scientific modeling in order to characterize the informational content of a scientific model. They argue that when represented as a communication channel, a model source conveys information about its target, and that such representations are therefore appropriate whenever modeling is employed for informational gain. They then extract two consequences. First, the introduction of idealizations is akin in informational terms to the introduction of noise in a signal; for in (...)
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  5.  18
    The Tragedy of the Canon; or, Path Dependence in the History and Philosophy of Science.Agnes Bolinska & Joseph D. Martin - 2021 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 89:63-73.
    We have previously argued that historical cases must be rendered canonical before they can plausibly serve as evidence for philosophical claims, where canonicity is established through a process of negotiation among historians and philosophers of science (Bolinska and Martin, 2020). Here, we extend this proposal by exploring how that negotiation might take place in practice. The working stock of historical examples that philosophers tend to employ has long been established informally, and, as a result, somewhat haphazardly. The composition of the (...)
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  6.  5
    A Monist Proposal: Against Integrative Pluralism About Protein Structure.Agnes Bolinska - forthcoming - Erkenntnis:1-23.
    Mitchell & Gronenborn propose that we account for the presence of multiple models of protein structure, each produced in different contexts, through the framework of integrative pluralism. I argue that two interpretations of this framework are available, neither of which captures the relationship between a model and the protein structure it represents or between multiple models of protein structure. Further, it inclines us toward concluding prematurely that models of protein structure are right in their contexts and makes extrapolation of findings (...)
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  7.  28
    Synthetic Versus Analytic Approaches to Protein and DNA Structure Determination.Agnes Bolinska - 2018 - Biology and Philosophy 33 (3-4):26.
    The structures of protein and DNA were discovered primarily by means of synthesizing component-level information about bond types, lengths, and angles, rather than analyzing X-ray diffraction photographs of these molecules. In this paper, I consider the synthetic and analytic approaches to exemplify alternative heuristics for approaching mid-twentieth-century macromolecular structure determination. I argue that the former was, all else being equal, likeliest to generate the correct structure in the shortest period of time. I begin by characterizing problem solving in these cases (...)
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