Distinguishing Explanatory from Nonexplanatory Fictions

Philosophy of Science 79 (5):725-737 (2012)
Authors
Alisa Bokulich
Boston University
Abstract
There is a growing recognition that fictions have a number of legitimate functions in science, even when it comes to scientific explanation. However, the question then arises, what distinguishes an explanatory fiction from a nonexplanatory one? Here I examine two cases—one in which there is a consensus in the scientific community that the fiction is explanatory and another in which the fiction is not explanatory. I shall show how my account of “model explanations” is able to explain this asymmetry, and argue that realism—of a more subtle form—does have a role in distinguishing explanatory from non- explanatory fictions.
Keywords models  explanation
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DOI 10.1086/667991
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How Scientific Models Can Explain.Alisa Bokulich - 2011 - Synthese 180 (1):33 - 45.
Can Classical Structures Explain Quantum Phenomena?Alisa Bokulich - 2008 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 59 (2):217-235.

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