David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
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PSA: Proceedings of the Biennial Meeting of the Philosophy of Science Association 1992:154 - 164 (1992)
By stressing the act rather than the relation of approximation, I argue that the magnitude of the error introduced should not be used as the sole criterion for judging the worth of the approximation. Magnitude is a necessary but not sufficient condition for such a judgement. Controllability, the absence of cancelling errors, and the approximation's justification are also important criteria to consider when praising or blaming an approximation. Boltzmann's discussion of the types of approximations used in the kinetic theory of gases at the turn of the century illustrates the use of these criteria.
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Nadine de Courtenay (2010). The Epistemological Virtues of Assumptions: Towards a Coming of Age of Boltzmann and Meinong's Objections to 'the Prejudice in Favour of the Actual'? Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 41 (1):41-57.
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