An agent-based conception of models and scientific representation

Synthese 172 (2):269–281 (2010)

Abstract

I argue for an intentional conception of representation in science that requires bringing scientific agents and their intentions into the picture. So the formula is: Agents (1) intend; (2) to use model, M; (3) to represent a part of the world, W; (4) for some purpose, P. This conception legitimates using similarity as the basic relationship between models and the world. Moreover, since just about anything can be used to represent anything else, there can be no unified ontology of models. This whole approach is further supported by a brief exposition of some recent work in cognitive, or usage-based, linguistics. Finally, with all the above as background, I criticize the recently much discussed idea that claims involving scientific models are really fictions.

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Ronald Giere
Last affiliation: University of Minnesota

Citations of this work

Modelling and Representing: An Artefactual Approach to Model-Based Representation.Tarja Knuuttila - 2011 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 42 (2):262-271.
Model Evaluation: An Adequacy-for-Purpose View.Wendy S. Parker - 2020 - Philosophy of Science 87 (3):457-477.
Data models, representation and adequacy-for-purpose.Alisa Bokulich & Wendy Parker - 2021 - European Journal for Philosophy of Science 11 (1):1-26.
Perspectival Modeling.Michela Massimi - 2018 - Philosophy of Science 85 (3):335-359.

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