Synthese 196 (12):5115-5136 (2019)

Authors
Sergio A. Gallegos-Ordorica
John Jay College of Criminal Justice (CUNY)
Abstract
In recent decades, philosophers of science have devoted considerable efforts to understand what models represent. One popular position is that models represent fictional situations. Another position states that, though models often involve fictional elements, they represent real objects or scenarios. Though these two positions may seem to be incompatible, I believe it is possible to reconcile them. Using a threefold distinction between different signs proposed by Peirce, I develop an argument based on a proposal recently made by Kralemann and Lattman (in Synthese 190:3397–3420, 2013) that shows that the two aforementioned positions can be reconciled by distinguishing different ways in which a model representation can be used. In particular, on the basis of Peirce’s distinction between icons, indices and symbols, I argue that models can sometimes function as icons, sometimes as indexes and sometimes as symbols, depending on the context in which they are considered and the use that they are developed for because they all have iconic, indexical and symbolic features. In addition, I show that conceiving models as signs enables us to develop an account of scientific representation that meets the main desiderata that Shech (in Synthese 192:3463–3485, 2015) presents.
Keywords Models  Scientific Representation  C. S. Peirce  Semiotics  Signs  Kralemann and Lattman  Shech
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DOI 10.1007/s11229-018-1700-4
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References found in this work BETA

Meaning.H. Paul Grice - 1957 - Philosophical Review 66 (3):377-388.
Models and Analogies in Science.Mary Hesse - 1965 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 16 (62):161-163.
How Models Are Used to Represent Reality.Ronald N. Giere - 2004 - Philosophy of Science 71 (5):742-752.
Galilean Idealization.Ernan McMullin - 1985 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 16 (3):247.
Scientific Representation: Against Similarity and Isomorphism.Mauricio Suárez - 2003 - International Studies in the Philosophy of Science 17 (3):225-244.

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