Factive scientific understanding without accurate representation

Biology and Philosophy 31 (1):81-102 (2016)
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Abstract

This paper analyzes two ways idealized biological models produce factive scientific understanding. I then argue that models can provide factive scientific understanding of a phenomenon without providing an accurate representation of the features of their real-world target system. My analysis of these cases also suggests that the debate over scientific realism needs to investigate the factive scientific understanding produced by scientists’ use of idealized models rather than the accuracy of scientific models themselves.

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Collin Rice
Colorado State University

Citations of this work

How could models possibly provide how-possibly explanations?Philippe Verreault-Julien - 2019 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 73:1-12.
Idealizations and Understanding: Much Ado About Nothing?Emily Sullivan & Kareem Khalifa - 2019 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 97 (4):673-689.
Models Don’t Decompose That Way: A Holistic View of Idealized Models.Collin Rice - 2019 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 70 (1):179-208.

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References found in this work

How the laws of physics lie.Nancy Cartwright - 1983 - New York: Oxford University Press.
Philosophical explanations.Robert Nozick - 1981 - Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press.
Depth: An Account of Scientific Explanation.Michael Strevens - 2008 - Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press.

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