Synthese 180 (1):33 - 45 (2011)
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
Making Things Happen: A Theory of Causal Explanation.James Woodward - 2003 - Oxford University Press.
Galilean Idealization.Ernan McMullin - 1985 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 16 (3):247-273.
Explanatory Generalizations, Part II: Plumbing Explanatory Depth.Christopher Hitchcock & James Woodward - 2003 - Noûs 37 (2):181–199.
Citations of this work BETA
Moving Beyond Causes: Optimality Models and Scientific Explanation.Collin Rice - 2015 - Noûs 49 (3):589-615.
Models and Mechanisms in Psychological Explanation.Daniel A. Weiskopf - 2011 - Synthese 183 (3):313-338.
Reassessing Woodward’s Account of Explanation: Regularities, Counterfactuals, and Noncausal Explanations.Juha Saatsi & Mark Pexton - 2013 - Philosophy of Science 80 (5):613-624.
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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