The Importance of Models in Theorizing: A Deflationary Semantic View

PSA: Proceedings of the Biennial Meeting of the Philosophy of Science Association 1992:142 - 153 (1992)
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Abstract

I critically examine the semantic view of theories to reveal the following results. First, models in science are not the same as models in mathematics, as holders of the semantic view claim. Second, when several examples of the semantic approach are examined in detail no common thread is found between them, except their close attention to the details of model building in each particular science. These results lead me to propose a deflationary semantic view, which is simply that model construction is an important component of theorizing in science. This deflationary view is consistent with a naturalized approach to the philosophy of science.

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Stephen M. Downes
University of Utah

Citations of this work

Models and fiction.Roman Frigg - 2010 - Synthese 172 (2):251-268.
The strategy of model-based science.Peter Godfrey-Smith - 2006 - Biology and Philosophy 21 (5):725-740.
Who is a Modeler?Michael Weisberg - 2007 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 58 (2):207-233.
Metaphysics as modeling: the handmaiden’s tale.L. A. Paul - 2012 - Philosophical Studies 160 (1):1-29.

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