In Lorenzo Magnani & Claudia Casadio (eds.), Model Based Reasoning in Science and Technology. Logical, Epistemological, and Cognitive Issues. Springer Verlag (2006)

Michel Ghins
Université Catholique de Louvain
In his Scientific Representation. Paradoxes of Perspective, Bas van Fraassen offers a pragmatic account of scientific representation and representation tout court. In this paper I examine the three conditions for a user to succeed in representing a target in some context: identification of the target of the representational action, representing the target as such and correctly representing it in some respects. I argue that success on these three counts relies on the supposed truth of some predicative assertions, and thus that truth is more fundamental than representation. I do this in the framework of a version of the so-called “structural” account of representation according to which the establishment of a homomorphism by the user between a structure abstracted from the intended target and some relevant structure of the representing artefact is a necessary condition of success for representing the target in some respects. Finally, on the basis of a correspondence view of truth, I show that it is possible to address what van Fraassen calls “the loss of reality objection”.
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DOI 10.1007/978-3-319-38983-7_2
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