Infinite idealizations in physics

Philosophy Compass 13 (9):e12514 (2018)

Authors
Elay Shech
Auburn University
Abstract
In this essay, I provide an overview of the debate on infinite and essential idealizations in physics. I will first present two ostensible examples: phase transitions and the Aharonov– Bohm effect. Then, I will describe the literature on the topic as a debate between two positions: Essentialists claim that idealizations are essential or indispensable for scientific accounts of certain physical phenomena, while dispensabilists maintain that idealizations are dispensable from mature scientific theory. I will also identify some attempts at finding a middle ground between the essentialists and dispensabilists camps. Finally, I will raise questions for future research on essential and infinite idealizations via the notion of exploration.
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DOI 10.1111/phc3.12514
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References found in this work BETA

Minimal Model Explanations.Robert W. Batterman & Collin C. Rice - 2014 - Philosophy of Science 81 (3):349-376.
Galilean Idealization.Ernan McMullin - 1985 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 16 (3):247.

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Citations of this work BETA

On the Universality of Hawking Radiation.Sean Gryb, Patricia Palacios & Karim Thébault - forthcoming - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science:axz025.

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