Theories: Tools versus models

In “The Toolbox of Science” (1995) together with Towfic Shomar we advocated a form of instrumentalism about scientific theories. We separately developed this view further in a number of subsequent works. Steven French, James Ladyman, Otavio Bueno and Newton Da Costa (FLBD) have since written at least eight papers and a book criticising our work. Here we defend ourselves. First we explain what we mean in denying that models derive from theory – and why their failure to do so should be lamented. Second we defend our use of the London model of superconductivity as an example. Third we point out both advantages and weaknesses of FLBD’s techniques in comparison to traditional Anglophone versions of the semantic conception. Fourth we show that FLBD’s version of the semantic conception has not been applied to our case study. We conclude by raising doubts about FLBD’s overall project.
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DOI 10.1016/j.shpsb.2007.05.004
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References found in this work BETA
J. Ladyman (1998). What is Structural Realism? Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 29 (3):409-424.
Ernan McMullin (1985). Galilean Idealization. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 16 (3):247-273.
O. Bueno (1997). Empirical Adequacy: A Partial Structures Approach. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 28 (4):585-610.
Steven French & James Ladyman (1999). Reinflating the Semantic Approach. International Studies in the Philosophy of Science 13 (2):103 – 121.

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Citations of this work BETA
Rasmus Grønfeldt Winther (2012). Interweaving Categories: Styles, Paradigms, and Models. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 43 (4):628-639.

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