David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
Learn more about PhilPapers
Realists regarding scientific knowledge – those who think that our best scientific representations truly describe both observable and unobservable aspects of the natural world – have special need of a notion of approximate truth. Since theories and models are rarely considered true simpliciter, the realist requires some means of making sense of the claim that they may be false and yet close to the truth, and increasingly so over time. In this paper, I suggest that traditional approaches to approximate truth are insensitive to two crucial features of scientific knowledge, and that for each of these, analogies between representational practices in the sciences and in art prove useful to understanding how this situation can be remedied. First, I outline two distinct ways in which representations deviate from the truth, commonly referred to as ‘abstraction’ and ‘idealization’. Second, I argue that these practices exemplify different conventions of representation, and that for each, the conditions of approximation relevant to explicating the concept of approximate truth must be understood differently. The concept is thus heterogeneous; approximate truth is a virtue that is multiply realized, relative to different contexts of representation. This understanding is facilitated, I suggest, by considering the distinction between realistic and non-realistic representation in art.
|Keywords||No keywords specified (fix it)|
|Categories||categorize this paper)|
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
No references found.
Citations of this work BETA
Ahti-Veikko Pietarinen (2014). Misrepresentation in “Misrepresentation in Context” in Context. Foundations of Science 19 (4):381-386.
Similar books and articles
Douglas Edwards (2013). Naturalness, Representation and the Metaphysics of Truth. European Journal of Philosophy 21 (3):384-401.
Laurence Foss (1971). Art as Cognitive: Beyond Scientific Realism. Philosophy of Science 38 (2):234-250.
Eric Barnes (1995). Truthlikeness, Translation, and Approximate Causal Explanation. Philosophy of Science 62 (2):215-226.
David B. Resnik (1992). Convergent Realism and Approximate Truth. PSA: Proceedings of the Biennial Meeting of the Philosophy of Science Association 1992:421 - 434.
Duncan Macintosh (1994). Partial Convergence and Approximate Truth. British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 45 (1):153-170.
Mauricio Suárez (2004). An Inferential Conception of Scientific Representation. Philosophy of Science 71 (5):767-779.
Howard Sankey (2001). Scientific Realism: An Elaboration and a Defence. Theoria: A Journal of Social and Political Theory 98 (98):35-54.
Mauricio Suárez & Albert Solé (2006). On the Analogy Between Cognitive Representation and Truth. Theoria 21 (1):39-48.
Thomas Weston (1992). Approximate Truth and Scientific Realism. Philosophy of Science 59 (1):53-74.
Shelby D. Hunt (2011). Theory Status, Inductive Realism, and Approximate Truth: No Miracles, No Charades. International Studies in the Philosophy of Science 25 (2):159 - 178.
Added to index2009-01-28
Total downloads121 ( #17,820 of 1,724,741 )
Recent downloads (6 months)4 ( #167,193 of 1,724,741 )
How can I increase my downloads?