Models and fiction

Synthese 172 (2):251 - 268 (2010)
Abstract
Most scientific models are not physical objects, and this raises important questions. What sort of entity are models, what is truth in a model, and how do we learn about models? In this paper I argue that models share important aspects in common with literary fiction, and that therefore theories of fiction can be brought to bear on these questions. In particular, I argue that the pretence theory as developed by Walton (1990, Mimesis as make-believe: on the foundations of the representational arts. Harvard University Press, Cambridge/MA) has the resources to answer these questions. I introduce this account, outline the answers that it offers, and develop a general picture of scientific modelling based on it.
Keywords Models  Fiction  Pretence  Truth in fiction  Semantic view of theories  Structuralist view of models
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References found in this work BETA
Malcolm Budd (1992). Books Reviews. Mind 101 (401):195-198.
J. Cat (2001). On Understanding: Maxwell on the Methods of Illustration and Scientific Metaphor. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part B 32 (3):395-441.

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Citations of this work BETA
Adam Toon (2011). Playing with Molecules. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 42 (4):580-589.

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