Why scientific models are not works of fiction

Abstract
The usual question, “Are models fictions?” is replaced by the question, “Should scientific models be regarded as works of fiction?” This makes it clear that the issue is not one of definition but of interpretation. First one must distinguish between the ontology of scientific models and their function in the practice of science. Theoretical models and works of fiction are ontologically on a par, their both being creations of human imagination. It is their differing functions in practice that makes it inappropriate to regard scientific models as works of fiction. Three reasons for thinking scientific models should be regarded as works of fiction are rejected. First, scientists themselves sometimes invoke the idea of fictions in their discussions of specific models. Second, many scientific models are physically impossible to realize in the real world. Third, regarding scientific models as works of fiction supports a general fictionalist understanding of scientific theories. It is concluded that promoting the general idea that scientific models are works of fiction unnecessarily supports attacks on the legitimacy of science itself.
Keywords No keywords specified (fix it)
Categories (categorize this paper)
Options
 Save to my reading list
Follow the author(s)
My bibliography
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Revision history
Request removal from index
Download options
Our Archive


Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy on self-archival     Papers currently archived: 24,975
External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library
References found in this work BETA

No references found.

Add more references

Citations of this work BETA
Models and Fictions in Science.Peter Godfrey-Smith - 2009 - Philosophical Studies 143 (1):101 - 116.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles
How Scientific Models Can Explain.Alisa Bokulich - 2011 - Synthese 180 (1):33 - 45.
The Nature and Function of Models.Ronald N. Giere - 2001 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 24 (6):1060-1060.
Playing with Molecules.Adam Toon - 2011 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 42 (4):580-589.
Models as Make-Believe.Adam Toon - 2010 - In Roman Frigg & Matthew Hunter (eds.), Beyond Mimesis and Convention: Representation in Art and Science. Boston Studies in Philosophy of Science.
Scientists' Thoughts on Scientific Models.Daniela M. Bailer-Jones - 2002 - Perspectives on Science 10 (3):275-301.
Towards an Ontology of Scientific Models.S. Ducheyne - 2008 - Metaphysica 9 (1):119-127.
Models and Fiction.Roman Frigg - 2010 - Synthese 172 (2):251-268.

Monthly downloads

Added to index

2009-01-28

Total downloads

169 ( #25,102 of 2,040,661 )

Recent downloads (6 months)

3 ( #246,089 of 2,040,661 )

How can I increase my downloads?

My notes
Sign in to use this feature


Discussion
Order:
There  are no threads in this forum
Nothing in this forum yet.

Other forums