Synthese 196 (6):2305-2322 (2019)

Authors
Brandon Boesch
Morningside College
Abstract
While many recent accounts of scientific representation have given a central role to the agency and intentions of scientists in explaining representation, they have left these agential concepts unanalyzed. An account of scientific, representational actions will be a useful piece in offering a more complete account of the practice of representation in science. Drawing on an Anscombean approach to the nature of intentional actions, the Means-End Account of Scientific, Representational Actions describes three features of scientific, representational actions: the final description in the means-end ordering of descriptions is some scientific aim; that interaction with a vehicle distinct from its target stands as an earlier description which is ordered toward the final description as means to end; and the means-end structure is licensed by scientific practice. After describing each of the components of the Means-End Account in greater detail through the example of the representational use of a mathematical model, I explain how it can demarcate scientific, representational actions from other sorts of actions. I close by describing some payoffs of the account, showing how it contributes to a more thorough understanding of the practice of representation in science and how it can be of use in understanding the close connection between representation and other forms of scientific activity.
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DOI 10.1007/s11229-017-1537-2
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References found in this work BETA

Explaining Science: A Cognitive Approach.Jeffrey S. Poland - 1988 - Philosophical Review 100 (4):653-656.
How Models Are Used to Represent Reality.Ronald N. Giere - 2004 - Philosophy of Science 71 (5):742-752.
Who is a Modeler?Michael Weisberg - 2007 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 58 (2):207-233.
Modelling and Representing: An Artefactual Approach to Model-Based Representation.Tarja Knuuttila - 2011 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 42 (2):262-271.

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