David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
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British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 56 (3):579-594 (2005)
Given that scientific realism is based on the assumption that there is a connection between a model's predictive success and its truth, and given the success of multiple incompatible models in scientific practice, the realist has a problem. When the different models can be shown to arise as different approximations to a unified theory, however, one might think the realist to be able to accommodate such cases. I discuss a special class of models (generated as non-uniform limits of a unified theory) and argue that a realist interpretation has to understand these models of a system as ‘perspectival’, in close analogy to different spatial perspectives onto the same object. For this sort of case, I also respond to Morrison's recent claim that in the process of unifying models into an overarching theory, explanatory and descriptive power are lost, leaving the unified theory with less of a claim to a realist interpretation than the models themselves. Introduction Perspectival models from singular perturbation problems Unification of perspectives without losses of explanatory power Perspectives as different levels of a system Perspectival models, idealizations and pluralism.
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Citations of this work BETA
Margaret Morrison (2011). One Phenomenon, Many Models: Inconsistency and Complementarity. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science 42 (2):342-351.
Werner Callebaut (2013). Naturalizing Theorizing: Beyond a Theory of Biological Theories. [REVIEW] Biological Theory 7 (4):413-429.
Anjan Chakravartty (2010). Perspectivism, Inconsistent Models, and Contrastive Explanation. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 41 (4):405-412.
Cliff Hooker (2013). On the Import of Constraints in Complex Dynamical Systems. Foundations of Science 18 (4):757-780.
Carsten Seck (2012). Metaphysics Within Chemical Physics: The Case of Ab Initio Molecular Dynamics. [REVIEW] Journal for General Philosophy of Science 43 (2):361-375.
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