An inferential conception of scientific representation

Philosophy of Science 71 (5):767-779 (2004)
This paper defends an inferential conception of scientific representation. It approaches the notion of representation in a deflationary spirit, and minimally characterizes the concept as it appears in science by means of two necessary conditions: its essential directionality and its capacity to allow surrogate reasoning and inference. The conception is defended by showing that it successfully meets the objections that make its competitors, such as isomorphism and similarity, untenable. In addition the inferential conception captures the objectivity of the cognitive representations used by science, it sheds light on their truth and completeness, and it explains the source of the analogy between scientific and artistic modes of representation.
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DOI 10.1086/421415
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