Finding truth in fictions: identifying non-fictions in imaginary cracks

Synthese 190 (2):235-251 (2013)

Authors
Gordon Purves
University of South Carolina
Abstract
I critically examine some recent work on the philosophy of scientific fictions, focusing on the work of Winsberg. By considering two case studies in fracture mechanics, the strip yield model and the imaginary crack method, I argue that his reliance upon the social norms associated with an element of a model forces him to remain silent whenever those norms fail to clearly match the characteristic of fictions or non-fictions. In its place, I propose a normative epistemology of fictions which clarifies a model's ontological commitments when the community of scientists lack any clear, shared norms of use. Specifically, I will introduce a variational account of fictions as an extension of Laymon's monotonic improvability account of idealizations. I will conclude by connecting this variational account of fictions to didactic fictions in general
Keywords Modeling  Fictions  Idealizations  Engineering  Fracture mechanics
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DOI 10.1007/s11229-012-0144-5
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References found in this work BETA

How the Laws of Physics Lie.Nancy Cartwright - 1983 - Oxford University Press.
How Scientific Models Can Explain.Alisa Bokulich - 2011 - Synthese 180 (1):33 - 45.
How the Laws of Physics Lie.Nancy Cartwright - 1985 - Philosophy of Science 52 (3):478-480.

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Citations of this work BETA

Fictionalism, Semantics, and Ontology.Gordon Michael Purves - 2018 - Perspectives on Science 26 (1):52-75.

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