True enough

Philosophical Issues 14 (1):113–131 (2004)

Authors
Catherine Elgin
Harvard University
Abstract
Truth is standardly considered a requirement on epistemic acceptability. But science and philosophy deploy models, idealizations and thought experiments that prescind from truth to achieve other cognitive ends. I argue that such felicitous falsehoods function as cognitively useful fictions. They are cognitively useful because they exemplify and afford epistemic access to features they share with the relevant facts. They are falsehoods in that they diverge from the facts. Nonetheless, they are true enough to serve their epistemic purposes. Theories that contain them have testable consequences, hence are factually defeasible.
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DOI 10.1111/j.1533-6077.2004.00023.x
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References found in this work BETA

Counterfactuals.David K. Lewis - 1973 - Blackwell.
How the Laws of Physics Lie.Nancy Cartwright - 1983 - Oxford University Press.
Knowledge in a Social World.Alvin I. Goldman - 1999 - Oxford University Press.

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Citations of this work BETA

Is Understanding a Species of Knowledge?Stephen R. Grimm - 2006 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 57 (3):515-535.
Understanding and the Facts.Catherine Elgin - 2007 - Philosophical Studies 132 (1):33 - 42.

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