Towards an Expanded Epistemology for Approximations

PSA: Proceedings of the Biennial Meeting of the Philosophy of Science Association 1992:154 - 164 (1992)
  Copy   BIBTEX


By stressing the act rather than the relation of approximation, I argue that the magnitude of the error introduced should not be used as the sole criterion for judging the worth of the approximation. Magnitude is a necessary but not sufficient condition for such a judgement. Controllability, the absence of cancelling errors, and the approximation's justification are also important criteria to consider when praising or blaming an approximation. Boltzmann's discussion of the types of approximations used in the kinetic theory of gases at the turn of the century illustrates the use of these criteria.



    Upload a copy of this work     Papers currently archived: 76,140

External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server

Through your library

Similar books and articles

Approximations and truth spaces.Jean-Pierre Marquis - 1991 - Journal of Philosophical Logic 20 (4):375 - 401.
Closer.Rafael De Clercq & Leon Horsten - 2005 - Synthese 146 (3):371 - 393.
Computer Simulations, Idealizations and Approximations.Ronald Laymon - 1990 - PSA: Proceedings of the Biennial Meeting of the Philosophy of Science Association 1990:519 - 534.
The projection postulate as a fortuitous approximation.Paul Teller - 1983 - Philosophy of Science 50 (3):413-431.
Beauty, a road to the truth?David Miller - 2005 - Poznan Studies in the Philosophy of the Sciences and the Humanities 83 (1):341-355.


Added to PP

15 (#699,689)

6 months
1 (#447,993)

Historical graph of downloads
How can I increase my downloads?

Author's Profile

Jeffry L. Ramsey
Smith College

References found in this work

No references found.

Add more references