Kinds of models

Abstract

I survey a broad variety of models with an eye to asking what kind of model each is in the following sense: in virtue of what is each of them regarded as a model? It will be seen that when we classify models according to the answer to this question, it comes to light that the notion of model predominant in philosophy of science covers only some of the kinds of models used in scientific contexts. The notion of a model predominant in philosophy of science requires that a model be related to something formal, such as equations or statements. Not all the examples provided in the brief survey in this paper fit that notion of a model. I identify another kind of model that ought to be included in philosophical and foundational studies of scientific models, which I call a “piece of the world” kind of model, to contrast with a “realm of thought” kind of model. These models also have formal methodologies associated with them, and, hence, analytic philosophers of science can embrace them without abandoning the rigor that has characterized the discipline.

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Susan G. Sterrett
Wichita State University

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Models of Peano Arithmetic.Richard Kaye - 1991 - Clarendon Press.
Models of machines and models of phenomena.Susan G. Sterrett - 2004 - International Studies in the Philosophy of Science 20 (1):69 – 80.
Maxwell on the method of physical analogy.Joseph Turner - 1955 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 6 (23):226-238.

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