Representation and the imperfect ideal

Philosophy of Science 61 (3):407-28 (1994)
This paper examines the nomic covariationist strategy of using idealization to define representation. While the literature has focused upon the possibility of defining ideal conditions for perception, I argue that nomic covariationist appeals to idealization are pseudoscientific and contrary to a foundational and empirically well-supported methodological presupposition in cognitive science. Moreover, one major figure in this camp fails to come to grips with its role and its problems in mainstream science. Thus he forwards a false dichotomy of the sciences and treats idealization as a blank check written by scientists on an unknown bank. Finally, I consider and reject alternative formulations of the nomic covariationist's idealization strategy
Keywords Cognition  Covariation  Physics  Representation  Science
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