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  1. How Scientific Models Can Explain.Alisa Bokulich - 2011 - Synthese 180 (1):33 - 45.
    Scientific models invariably involve some degree of idealization, abstraction, or nationalization of their target system. Nonetheless, I argue that there are circumstances under which such false models can offer genuine scientific explanations. After reviewing three different proposals in the literature for how models can explain, I shall introduce a more general account of what I call model explanations, which specify the conditions under which models can be counted as explanatory. I shall illustrate this new framework by applying it to the (...)
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  • A Theory of Scientific Study.Robert Luk - 2017 - Foundations of Science 22 (1):11-38.
    This paper presents a theory of scientific study which is regarded as a social learning process of scientific knowledge creation, revision, application, monitoring and dissemination with the aim of securing good quality, general, objective, testable and complete scientific knowledge of the domain. The theory stipulates the aim of scientific study that forms the basis of its principles. It also makes seven assumptions about scientific study and defines the major participating entities. It extends a recent process model of scientific study into (...)
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  • Robert Boyle and Mathematics: Reality, Representation, and Experimental Practice.Steven Shapin - 1988 - Science in Context 2 (1):23-58.
  • Liberal Naturalism and Non-Epistemic Values.Ricardo F. Crespo - 2019 - Foundations of Science 24 (2):247-273.
    The ‘value-free ideal’ has been called into question for several reasons. It does not include “epistemic values”—viewed as characteristic of ‘good science’—and rejects the so-called ‘contextual’, ‘non-cognitive’ or ‘non-epistemic’ values—all of them personal, moral, or political values. This paper analyzes a possible complementary argument about the dubitable validity of the value-free ideal, specifically focusing on social sciences, with a two-fold strategy. First, it will consider that values are natural facts in a broad or ‘liberal naturalist’ sense and, thus, a legitimate (...)
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  • Abstraction and its Limits: Finding Space For Novel Explanation.Eleanor Knox - 2016 - Noûs 50 (1):41-60.
    Several modern accounts of explanation acknowledge the importance of abstraction and idealization for our explanatory practice. However, once we allow a role for abstraction, questions remain. I ask whether the relation between explanations at different theoretical levels should be thought of wholly in terms of abstraction, and argue that changes of the quantities in terms of which we describe a system can lead to novel explanations that are not merely abstractions of some more detailed picture. I use the example of (...)
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  • Datos, fenómenos y representación: sobre el estructuralismo empirista de van Fraassen.José Luis Rolleri - 2015 - Ideas Y Valores 64 (157):137-149.
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  • Philosophical Issues Concerning Phase Transitions and Anyons: Emergence, Reduction, and Explanatory Fictions.Elay Shech - 2019 - Erkenntnis 84 (3):585-615.
    Various claims regarding intertheoretic reduction, weak and strong notions of emergence, and explanatory fictions have been made in the context of first-order thermodynamic phase transitions. By appealing to John Norton’s recent distinction between approximation and idealization, I argue that the case study of anyons and fractional statistics, which has received little attention in the philosophy of science literature, is more hospitable to such claims. In doing so, I also identify three novel roles that explanatory fictions fulfill in science. Furthermore, I (...)
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  • Infinitesimal Idealization, Easy Road Nominalism, and Fractional Quantum Statistics.Elay Shech - 2019 - Synthese 1 (5):1963-1990.
    It has been recently debated whether there exists a so-called “easy road” to nominalism. In this essay, I attempt to fill a lacuna in the debate by making a connection with the literature on infinite and infinitesimal idealization in science through an example from mathematical physics that has been largely ignored by philosophers. Specifically, by appealing to John Norton’s distinction between idealization and approximation, I argue that the phenomena of fractional quantum statistics bears negatively on Mary Leng’s proposed path to (...)
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  • Modelling Extended Extragalactic Radio Sources.Daniela M. Bailer-Jones - 2000 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part B: Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics 31 (1):49-74.
    This paper examines the process of modelling a complex empirical phenomenon in modern astrophysics: extended extragalactic radio sources. I show that modelling is done piecemeal, addressing selected striking or puzzling features of that phenomenon separately and individually. The result is various independent and separate sub-models concerned only with limited aspects of the same phenomenon. Because the sub-models represent features of the same physical phenomenon, they need to be reasonably consistent with each other - a criterion not always fully adhered to (...)
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  • Aspects of Aristotelian Statics in Galileo's Dynamics.J. De Groot - 2000 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 31 (4):645-664.
    This paper examines geometrical arguments from Galileo's Mechanics and Two New Sciences to discern the influence of the Aristotelian Mechanical Problems on Galileo's dynamics. A common scientific procedure is found in the Aristotelian author's treatment of the balance and lever and in Galileo's rules concerning motion along inclined planes. This scientific procedure is understood as a development of Eudoxan proportional reasoning, as it was used in Eudoxan astronomy rather than simply as it appears in Euclid's Elements. Topics treated include the (...)
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  • Theories, Models and Constraints.Friedel Weinert - 1999 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 30 (2):303-333.
  • Idealization and the Aims of Economics: Three Cheers for Instrumentalism.Julian Reiss - 2012 - Economics and Philosophy 28 (3):363-383.
    This paper aims to provide characterizations of realism and instrumentalism that are philosophically interesting and applicable to economics; and to defend instrumentalism against realism as a methodological stance in economics. Starting point is the observation that ‘all models are false’, which, or so I argue, is difficult to square with the realist's aim of truth, even if the latter is understood as ‘partial’ or ‘approximate’. The three cheers in favour of instrumentalism are: Once we have usefulness, truth is redundant. There (...)
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  • Berkeley and Proof in Geometry.Richard J. Brook - 2012 - Dialogue 51 (3):419-435.
    Berkeley in his Introduction to the Principles of Human knowledge uses geometrical examples to illustrate a way of generating “universal ideas,” which allegedly account for the existence of general terms. In doing proofs we might, for example, selectively attend to the triangular shape of a diagram. Presumably what we prove using just that property applies to all triangles.I contend, rather, that given Berkeley’s view of extension, no Euclidean triangles exist to attend to. Rather proof, as Berkeley would normally assume, requires (...)
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  • Theories: Tools Versus Models.Mauricio Suárez & Nancy Cartwright - 2008 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part B: Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics 39 (1):62-81.
    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 (...)
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  • Modelling Inequality.Karim Thébault, Seamus Bradley & Alexander Reutlinger - 2018 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 69 (3):691-718.
    Econophysics is a new and exciting cross-disciplinary research field that applies models and modelling techniques from statistical physics to economic systems. It is not, however, without its critics: prominent figures in more mainstream economic theory have criticized some elements of the methodology of econophysics. One of the main lines of criticism concerns the nature of the modelling assumptions and idealizations involved, and a particular target are ‘kinetic exchange’ approaches used to model the emergence of inequality within the distribution of individual (...)
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  • Expanding the Scope of Explanatory Idealization.Andrew Wayne - 2011 - Philosophy of Science 78 (5):830-841.
    Many explanations in physics rely on idealized models of physical systems. These explanations fail to satisfy the conditions of standard normative accounts of explanation. Recently, some philosophers have claimed that idealizations can be used to underwrite explanation nonetheless, but only when they are what have variously been called representational, Galilean, controllable or harmless idealizations. This paper argues that such a half-measure is untenable and that idealizations not of this sort can have explanatory capacities.
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  • Defending the Semantic View: What It Takes.Soazig Le Bihan - 2012 - European Journal for Philosophy of Science 2 (3):249-274.
    In this paper, a modest version of the Semantic View is motivated as both tenable and potentially fruitful for philosophy of science. An analysis is proposed in which the Semantic View is characterized by three main claims. For each of these claims, a distinction is made between stronger and more modest interpretations. It is argued that the criticisms recently leveled against the Semantic View hold only under the stronger interpretations of these claims. However, if one only commits to the modest (...)
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  • On the Explanatory Role of Mathematics in Empirical Science.Robert Batterman - 2010 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 61 (1):1-25.
    This paper examines contemporary attempts to explicate the explanatory role of mathematics in the physical sciences. Most such approaches involve developing so-called mapping accounts of the relationships between the physical world and mathematical structures. The paper argues that the use of idealizations in physical theorizing poses serious difficulties for such mapping accounts. A new approach to the applicability of mathematics is proposed.
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  • Theoretical Fertility McMullin-Style.Samuel Schindler - 2017 - European Journal for Philosophy of Science 7 (1):151-173.
    A theory’s fertility is one of the standard theoretical virtues. But how is it to be construed? In current philosophical discourse, particularly in the realism debate, theoretical fertility is usually understood in terms of novel success: a theory is fertile if it manages to make successful novel predictions. Another, more permissible, notion of fertility can be found in the work of Ernan McMullin. This kind of fertility, McMullin claims, gives us just as strong grounds for realism. My paper critically assesses (...)
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  • Fictions, Conditionals, and Stellar Astrophysics.Mauricio Suárez - 2013 - International Studies in the Philosophy of Science 27 (3):235-252.
    This article argues in favour of an inferential role for fictions in scientific modelling. The argument proceeds by means of a detailed case study, namely models of the internal structure of stars in stellar astrophysics. The main assumptions in such models are described, and it is argued that they are best understood as useful fictions. The role that conditionals play in these models is explained, and it is argued that fictional assumptions play an important role as either background or antecedent (...)
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  • Economics as Robustness Analysis.Jaakko Kuorikoski, Aki Lehtinen & Caterina Marchionni - unknown
    All economic models involve abstractions and idealisations. Economic theory itself does not tell which idealizations are truly fatal or harmful for the result and which are not. This is why much of what is seen as theoretical contribution in economics is constituted by deriving familiar results from different modelling assumptions. If a modelling result is robust with respect to particular modelling assumptions, the empirical falsity of these particular assumptions does not provide grounds for criticizing the result. In this paper we (...)
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  • A New Direction for Science and Values.Daniel Hicks - 2014 - Synthese 191 (14):3271-95.
    The controversy over the old ideal of “value-free science” has cooled significantly over the past decade. Many philosophers of science now agree that even ethical and political values may play a substantial role in all aspects of scientific inquiry. Consequently, in the last few years, work in science and values has become more specific: Which values may influence science, and in which ways? Or, how do we distinguish illegitimate from illegitimate kinds of influence? In this paper, I argue that this (...)
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  • Predictive Success, Partial Truth and Duhemian Realism.Gauvain Leconte - 2014 - Synthese 194 (9):3245-3265.
    According to a defense of scientific realism known as the “divide et impera move”, mature scientific theories enjoying predictive success are partially true. This paper investigates a paradigmatic historical case: the prediction, based on Fresnel’s wave theory of light, that a bright spot should figure in the shadow of a disc. Two different derivations of this prediction have been given by both Poisson and Fresnel. I argue that the details of these derivations highlight two problems of indispensability arguments, which state (...)
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  • On Under-Determination in Cosmology.Jeremy Butterfield - 2014 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part B: Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics 46 (1):57-69.
    I discuss how modern cosmology illustrates under-determination of theoretical hypotheses by data, in ways that are different from most philosophical discussions. I emphasise cosmology's concern with what data could in principle be collected by a single observer ; and I give a broadly sceptical discussion of cosmology's appeal to the cosmological principle as a way of breaking the under-determination .I confine most of the discussion to the history of the observable universe from about one second after the Big Bang, as (...)
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  • Idealization and Structural Explanation in Physics.Martin King - manuscript
  • Understanding Scientific Study Via Process Modeling.Robert W. P. Luk - 2010 - Foundations of Science 15 (1):49-78.
    This paper argues that scientific studies distinguish themselves from other studies by a combination of their processes, their (knowledge) elements and the roles of these elements. This is supported by constructing a process model. An illustrative example based on Newtonian mechanics shows how scientific knowledge is structured according to the process model. To distinguish scientific studies from research and scientific research, two additional process models are built for such processes. We apply these process models: (1) to argue that scientific progress (...)
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  • Explaining Models: Theoretical and Phenomenological Models and Their Role for the First Explanation of the Hydrogen Spectrum. [REVIEW]Torsten Wilholt - 2004 - Foundations of Chemistry 7 (2):149-169.
    Traditional nomological accounts of scientific explanation have assumed that a good scientific explanation consists in the derivation of the explanandum’s description from theory (plus antecedent conditions). But in more recent philosophy of science the adequacy of this approach has been challenged, because the relation between theory and phenomena in actual scientific practice turns out to be more intricate. This critique is here examined for an explanatory paradigm that was groundbreaking for 20th century physics and chemistry (and their interrelation): Bohr’s first (...)
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  • The Real Problem with Perturbative Quantum Field Theory.James D. Fraser - forthcoming - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science.
    The perturbative approach to quantum field theory has long been viewed with suspicion by philosophers of science. This paper offers a diagnosis of its conceptual problems. Drawing on Norton’s discussion of the notion of approximation I argue that perturbative QFT ought to be understood as producing approximations without specifying an underlying QFT model. This analysis leads to a reassessment of common worries about perturbative QFT. What ends up being the key issue with the approach on this picture is not mathematical (...)
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  • Asymmetry, Abstraction, and Autonomy: Justifying Coarse-Graining in Statistical Mechanics.Katie Robertson - forthcoming - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science.
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  • Models at Work—Models in Decision Making.Ekaterina Svetlova & Vanessa Dirksen - 2014 - Science in Context 27 (4):561-577.
    In this topical section, we highlight the next step of research on modeling aiming to contribute to the emerging literature that radically refrains from approaching modeling as a scientific endeavor. Modeling surpasses “doing science” because it is frequently incorporated into decision-making processes in politics and management, i.e., areas which are not solely epistemically oriented. We do not refer to the production of models in academia for abstract or imaginary applications in practical fields, but instead highlight the real entwinement of science (...)
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  • Are We Sims? How Computer Simulations Represent and What This Means for the Simulation Argument.Claus Beisbart - 2014 - The Monist 97 (3):399-417.
    N. Bostrom’s simulation argument and two additional assumptions imply that we likely live in a computer simulation. The argument is based upon the following assumption about the workings of realistic brain simulations: The hardware of a computer on which a brain simulation is run bears a close analogy to the brain itself. To inquire whether this is so, I analyze how computer simulations trace processes in their targets. I describe simulations as fictional, mathematical, pictorial, and material models. Even though the (...)
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  • Cross-Disciplinary Research as a Platform for Philosophical Research.Stephen J. Crowley, Chad Gonnerman & Michael O'rourke - 2016 - Journal of the American Philosophical Association 2 (2):344-363.
    It is argued that core areas of philosophy can benefit from reflection on cross-disciplinary research (CDR). We start by giving a brief account of CDR, describing its variability and some of the ways in which philosophers can interact with it. We then provide an argument in principle for the conclusion that CDR is philosophically fecund, arguing that since CDR highlights fundamental differences among disciplinary research worldviews, it can be used to motivate new philosophical problems and supply new insights into old (...)
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  • A Philosopher of Science Looks at Idealization in Political Theory.Jenann Ismael - 2016 - Social Philosophy and Policy 33 (1-2):11-31.
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  • Superconductivity and Structures: Revisiting the London Account.Steven French & James Ladyman - 1997 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part B: Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics 28 (3):363-393.
    Cartwright and her collaborators have elaborated a provocative view of science which emphasises the independence from theory &unknown;in methods and aims&unknown; of phenomenological model building. This thesis has been supported in a recent paper by an analysis of the London and London model of superconductivity. In the present work we begin with a critique of Cartwright's account of the relationship between theoretical and phenomenological models before elaborating an alternative picture within the framework of the partial structures version of the semantic (...)
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  • The Evidential Significance of Thought Experiment in Science.James W. McAllister - 1996 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 27 (2):233-250.
  • The Evidential Significance of Thought Experiment in Science.James W. McAllister - 1996 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 27 (2):233-250.
  • Approximation and Idealization: Why the Difference Matters.John D. Norton - 2012 - Philosophy of Science 79 (2):207-232.
    It is proposed that we use the term “approximation” for inexact description of a target system and “idealization” for another system whose properties also provide an inexact description of the target system. Since systems generated by a limiting process can often have quite unexpected, even inconsistent properties, familiar limit systems used in statistical physics can fail to provide idealizations, but are merely approximations. A dominance argument suggests that the limiting idealizations of statistical physics should be demoted to approximations.
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  • Emergence Without Limits: The Case of Phonons.Alexander Franklin & Eleanor Knox - 2018 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part B: Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics 64:68-78.
    Recent discussions of emergence in physics have focussed on the use of limiting relations, and often particularly on singular or asymptotic limits. We discuss a putative example of emergence that does not fit into this narrative: the case of phonons. These quasi-particles have some claim to be emergent, not least because the way in which they relate to the underlying crystal is almost precisely analogous to the way in which quantum particles relate to the underlying quantum field theory. But there (...)
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  • Simplified Models: A Different Perspective on Models as Mediators.C. D. McCoy & Michela Massimi - 2018 - European Journal for Philosophy of Science 8 (1):99-123.
    We introduce a novel point of view on the “models as mediators” framework in order to emphasize certain important epistemological questions about models in science which have so far been little investigated. To illustrate how this perspective can help answer these kinds of questions, we explore the use of simplified models in high energy physics research beyond the Standard Model. We show in detail how the construction of simplified models is grounded in the need to mitigate pressing epistemic problems concerning (...)
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  • Don't Blame the Idealizations.Nicholaos Jones - 2013 - Journal for General Philosophy of Science / Zeitschrift für Allgemeine Wissenschaftstheorie 44 (1):85-100.
    Idealizing conditions are scapegoats for scientific hypotheses, too often blamed for falsehood better attributed to less obvious sources. But while the tendency to blame idealizations is common among both philosophers of science and scientists themselves, the blame is misplaced. Attention to the nature of idealizing conditions, the content of idealized hypotheses, and scientists’ attitudes toward those hypotheses shows that idealizing conditions are blameless when hypotheses misrepresent. These conditions help to determine the content of idealized hypotheses, and they do so in (...)
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  • The Future of Systematics: Tree Thinking Without the Tree.Joel D. Velasco - 2012 - Philosophy of Science 79 (5):624-636.
    Phylogenetic trees are meant to represent the genealogical history of life and apparently derive their justification from the existence of the tree of life and the fact that evolutionary processes are treelike. However, there are a number of problems for these assumptions. Here it is argued that once we understand the important role that phylogenetic trees play as models that contain idealizations, we can accept these criticisms and deny the reality of the tree while justifying the continued use of trees (...)
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  • Tools or Toys? On Specific Challenges for Modeling and the Epistemology of Models and Computer Simulations in the Social Sciences.Eckhart Arnold - manuscript
    Mathematical models are a well established tool in most natural sciences. Although models have been neglected by the philosophy of science for a long time, their epistemological status as a link between theory and reality is now fairly well understood. However, regarding the epistemological status of mathematical models in the social sciences, there still exists a considerable unclarity. In my paper I argue that this results from specific challenges that mathematical models and especially computer simulations face in the social sciences. (...)
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  • Mathematical Structure and Empirical Content.Michael Miller - unknown
    Approaches to the interpretation of physical theories provide accounts of how physical meaning accrues to the mathematical structure of a theory. According to many standard approaches to interpretation, meaning relations are captured by maps from the mathematical structure of the theory to statements expressing its empirical content. In this paper I argue that while such accounts adequately address meaning relations when exact models are available or perturbation theory converges, they do not fare as well for models that give rise to (...)
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  • About the Independence of Models with Respect to Theories: A Case Study of Quantum Chemistry.Hernán Lucas Accorinti & Juan Camilo Martínez - unknown
    Thesemanticviewofscientifictheoriesassumesthedependenceofmodelsontheories.Someauthorschal- lenge that assumption by means of the study of certain models conceived as phenomenological. On the basis of the analysis of atomic and molecular models in quantum chemistry, in this article we will argue for an independence of models from theories, which cannot be interpreted as merely historical and context relative. Those models shows a conceptual independence that is constitutive of the modeling process; such independence cannot be conceived as a result of a contingent deficiency of the theory used, (...)
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  • Zur Wissenschaftsphilosophie von Imre Lakatos.Hans Rott - 1994 - Philosophia Naturalis 31:25-62.
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  • Explanation in Science.A. Overton James - unknown
    Scientific explanation is an important goal of scientific practise. Philosophers have proposed a striking diversity of seemingly incompatible accounts of explanation, from deductive-nomological to statistical relevance, unification, pragmatic, causal-mechanical, mechanistic, causal intervention, asymptotic, and model-based accounts. In this dissertation I apply two novel methods to reexamine our evidence about scientific explanation in practise and thereby address the fragmentation of philosophical accounts. I start by collecting a data set of 781 articles from one year of the journal Science. Using automated text (...)
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  • Modeling Mystery.William Wood - 2016 - Scientia et Fides 4 (1):39-59.
    The practice of model-building is very common in analytic philosophical theology. Yet many other theologians worry that any attempt to model God must be hubristic and idolatrous. A better understanding of scientific modeling can set the stage for a more fruitful engagement between analytic theologians and their critics. I first present an account of scientific modeling that draws on recent work in the philosophy of science. I then apply that account to a prominent analytic model of the trinity, Michael Rea (...)
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  • A Rationale for Mixed Methods Research Programmes in Education.Mansoor Niaz - 2008 - Journal of Philosophy of Education 42 (2):287-305.
    Recent research shows that research programmes in education are not displaced but rather lead to integration. The objective of this study is to present a rationale for mixed methods research programs based on contemporary philosophy of science. This historical reconstruction of episodes from physical science does not agree with the positivist image of science. Quantitative data by itself, does not facilitate progress, neither in the physical sciences nor in the social sciences A historical reconstruction shows that both Piaget and Pascual‐Leone's (...)
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  • The Relation Between Idealisation and Approximation in Scientific Model Construction.Demetris P. Portides - 2007 - Science & Education 16 (7-8):699-724.
  • Talk About Toy Models.Joshua Luczak - 2017 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part B: Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics 57:1-7.
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