Scientific modelling with diagrams

Synthese 198 (3):2675-2694 (2019)
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Abstract

Diagrams can serve as representational models in scientific research, yet important questions remain about how they do so. I address some of these questions with a historical case study, in which diagrams were modified extensively in order to elaborate an early hypothesis of protein synthesis. The diagrams’ modelling role relied mainly on two features: diagrams were modified according to syntactic rules, which temporarily replaced physico-chemical reasoning, and diagram-to-target inferences were based on semantic interpretations. I then explore the lessons for the relative roles of syntax, semantics, external marks, and mental images, for justifying diagram-to-target inferences, and for the “artefactual approach” to scientific models.

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Ulrich Stegmann
University of Aberdeen

Citations of this work

Gene.Hans-Jörg Rheinberger - 2008 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.

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References found in this work

Explanation: A Mechanist Alternative.William Bechtel & Adele Abrahamsen - 2005 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences 36 (2):421-441.
Languages of Art.Nelson Goodman - 1970 - Philosophy and Rhetoric 3 (1):62-63.

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