An agent-based conception of models and scientific representation

Synthese 172 (2):269–281 (2010)
Abstract
I argue for an intentional conception of representation in science that requires bringing scientific agents and their intentions into the picture. So the formula is: Agents (1) intend; (2) to use model, M; (3) to represent a part of the world, W; (4) for some purpose, P. This conception legitimates using similarity as the basic relationship between models and the world. Moreover, since just about anything can be used to represent anything else, there can be no unified ontology of models. This whole approach is further supported by a brief exposition of some recent work in cognitive, or usage-based, linguistics. Finally, with all the above as background, I criticize the recently much discussed idea that claims involving scientific models are really fictions.
Keywords Agents  Cognitive linguistics  Fictions  Intentions  Models  Scientific representation
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    References found in this work BETA
    Arthur Fine (1993). Fictionalism. Midwest Studies in Philosophy 18 (1):1-18.
    H. P. Grice (1969). Utterer's Meaning and Intention. Philosophical Review 78 (2):147-177.

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    Citations of this work BETA
    Ronald N. Giere (2009). Scientific Perspectivism: Behind the Stage Door. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 40 (2):221-223.
    Adam Toon (2012). Similarity and Scientific Representation. International Studies in the Philosophy of Science 26 (3):241-257.

    View all 7 citations

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