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  1. Scientific Understanding and Felicitous Legitimate Falsehoods.Insa Lawler - forthcoming - Synthese:1-29.
    Science is replete with falsehoods that epistemically facilitate understanding by virtue of being the very falsehoods they are. In view of this puzzling fact, some have relaxed the truth requirement on understanding. I offer a factive view of understanding that fully accommodates the puzzling fact in four steps: (i) I argue that the question how these falsehoods are related to the phenomenon to be understood and the question how they figure into the content of understanding it are independent. (ii) I (...)
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  • Model Explanation Versus Model-Induced Explanation.Insa Lawler & Emily Sullivan - forthcoming - Foundations of Science:1-26.
    Scientists appeal to models when explaining phenomena. Such explanations are often dubbed model explanations or model-based explanations. But what are the precise conditions for ME? Are ME special explanations? In our paper, we first rebut two definitions of ME and specify a more promising one. Based on this analysis, we single out a related conception that is concerned with explanations that are induced from working with a model. We call them ‘model-induced explanations’. Second, we study three paradigmatic cases of alleged (...)
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  • Israeli Society for History and Philosophy of Science 14th Annual Conference.Fabio Ceravolo - 2014 - Rivista Italiana di Filosofia Analitica Junior 5 (1):124-144.
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  • Spontaneous Symmertry Breaking in Finite Systems.James D. Fraser - 2016 - Philosophy of Science 83 (4):585-605.
    The orthodox characterization of spontaneous symmetry breaking in statistical mechanics appeals to novel properties of systems with infinite degrees of freedom, namely, the existence of multiple equilibrium states. This raises the same puzzles about the status of the thermodynamic limit fueling recent debates about phase transitions. I argue that there are prospects of explaining the success of the standard approach to SSB in terms of the properties of large finite systems. Consequently, despite initial appearances, the need to account for SSB (...)
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  • Combining Finite and Infinite Elements: Why Do We Use Infinite Idealizations in Engineering?Silvia De Bianchi - 2019 - Synthese 196 (5):1733-1748.
    This contribution sheds light on the role of infinite idealization in structural analysis, by exploring how infinite elements and finite element methods are combined in civil engineering models. This combination, I claim, should be read in terms of a ‘complementarity function’ through which the representational ideal of completeness is reached in engineering model-building. Taking a cue from Weisberg’s definition of multiple-model idealization, I highlight how infinite idealizations are primarily meant to contribute to the prediction of structural behavior in Multiphysics approaches.
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  • Two Approaches to Fractional Statistics in the Quantum Hall Effect: Idealizations and the Curious Case of the Anyon.Elay Shech - 2015 - Foundations of Physics 45 (9):1063-1100.
    This paper looks at the nature of idealizations and representational structures appealed to in the context of the fractional quantum Hall effect, specifically, with respect to the emergence of anyons and fractional statistics. Drawing on an analogy with the Aharonov–Bohm effect, it is suggested that the standard approach to the effects— the topological approach to fractional statistics—relies essentially on problematic idealizations that need to be revised in order for the theory to be explanatory. An alternative geometric approach is outlined and (...)
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  • Infinitesimal Idealization, Easy Road Nominalism, and Fractional Quantum Statistics.Elay Shech - 2019 - Synthese 196 (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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  • 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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  • Infinite Idealizations in Science: An Introduction.Samuel C. Fletcher, Patricia Palacios, Laura Ruetsche & Elay Shech - 2019 - Synthese 196 (5):1657-1669.
    We offer a framework for organizing the literature regarding the debates revolving around infinite idealizations in science, and a short summary of the contributions to this special issue.
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  • Infinite Idealizations in Physics.Elay Shech - 2018 - Philosophy Compass 13 (9):e12514.
    In this essay, I provide an overview of the debate on infinite and essential idealizations in physics. I will first present two ostensible examples: phase transitions and the Aharonov– Bohm effect. Then, I will describe the literature on the topic as a debate between two positions: Essentialists claim that idealizations are essential or indispensable for scientific accounts of certain physical phenomena, while dispensabilists maintain that idealizations are dispensable from mature scientific theory. I will also identify some attempts at finding a (...)
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  • Model Templates Within and Between Disciplines: From Magnets to Gases – and Socio-Economic Systems.Tarja Knuuttila & Andrea Loettgers - 2016 - European Journal for Philosophy of Science 6 (3):377-400.
    One striking feature of the contemporary modelling practice is its interdisciplinary nature. The same equation forms, and mathematical and computational methods, are used across different disciplines, as well as within the same discipline. Are there, then, differences between intra- and interdisciplinary transfer, and can the comparison between the two provide more insight on the challenges of interdisciplinary theoretical work? We will study the development and various uses of the Ising model within physics, contrasting them to its applications to socio-economic systems. (...)
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  • Scientific Misrepresentation and Guides to Ontology: The Need for Representational Code and Contents.Elay Shech - 2015 - Synthese 192 (11):3463-3485.
    In this paper I show how certain requirements must be set on any tenable account of scientific representation, such as the requirement allowing for misrepresentation. I then continue to argue that two leading accounts of scientific representation— the inferential account and the interpretational account—are flawed for they do not satisfy such requirements. Through such criticism, and drawing on an analogy from non-scientific representation, I also sketch the outline of a superior account. In particular, I propose to take epistemic representations to (...)
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