How scientific models can explain

Synthese 180 (1):33 - 45 (2011)
Scientific models invariably involve some degree of idealization, abstraction, or nationalization of their target system. Nonetheless, I argue that there are circumstances under which such false models can offer genuine scientific explanations. After reviewing three different proposals in the literature for how models can explain, I shall introduce a more general account of what I call model explanations, which specify the conditions under which models can be counted as explanatory. I shall illustrate this new framework by applying it to the case of Bohr's model of the atom, and conclude by drawing some distinctions between phenomenological models, explanatory models, and fictional models
Keywords Models  Explanation  Fictions  Structural explanation  Bohr’s atom
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.2307/41477539
 Save to my reading list
Follow the author(s)
My bibliography
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Revision history Request removal from index
Download options
PhilPapers Archive

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy on self-archival     Papers currently archived: 15,831
External links
Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library
References found in this work BETA
Ernan McMullin (1985). Galilean Idealization. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 16 (3):247-273.

View all 14 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

View all 18 citations / Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Monthly downloads

Added to index


Total downloads

241 ( #4,202 of 1,724,865 )

Recent downloads (6 months)

22 ( #40,395 of 1,724,865 )

How can I increase my downloads?

My notes
Sign in to use this feature

Start a new thread
There  are no threads in this forum
Nothing in this forum yet.