How scientific models can explain

Synthese 180 (1):33 - 45 (2011)
Abstract
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 case of Bohr's model of the atom, and conclude by drawing some distinctions between phenomenological models, explanatory models, and fictional models
Keywords Models  Explanation  Fictions  Structural explanation  Bohr’s atom
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References found in this work BETA
Models as Mediators.Margaret Morrison & Mary Morgan (eds.) - 1999 - Cambridge University Press.
When Mechanistic Models Explain.Carl F. Craver - 2006 - Synthese 153 (3):355-376.
Galilean Idealization.Ernan McMullin - 1985 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 16 (3):247-273.

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Citations of this work BETA
Explanation, Understanding, and Unrealistic Models.Frank Hindriks - 2013 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 44 (3):523-531.

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