Isolating representations versus credible constructions? Economic modelling in theory and practice

Erkenntnis 70 (1):59 - 80 (2009)
Abstract
This paper examines two recent approaches to the nature and functioning of economic models: models as isolating representations and models as credible constructions. The isolationist view conceives of economic models as surrogate systems that isolate some of the causal mechanisms or tendencies of their respective target systems, while the constructionist approach treats them rather like pure constructions or fictional entities that nevertheless license different kinds of inferences. I will argue that whereas the isolationist view is still tied to the representationalist understanding of models that takes the model-target dyad as the basic unit of analysis, the constructionist perspective can better accommodate the way we actually acquire knowledge through them. Using the example of Tobin’s ultra-Keynesian model I will show how many of the epistemic characteristics of modelling tend to go unrecognised if too much focus is placed on the model-target dyad.
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References found in this work BETA
Daniela M. Bailer-Jones (2003). When Scientific Models Represent. International Studies in the Philosophy of Science 17 (1):59 – 74.

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Citations of this work BETA
Frank Hindriks (2013). Explanation, Understanding, and Unrealistic Models. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 44 (3):523-531.

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