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  1. Minimal Model Explanations.Robert W. Batterman & Collin C. Rice - 2014 - Philosophy of Science 81 (3):349-376.
    This article discusses minimal model explanations, which we argue are distinct from various causal, mechanical, difference-making, and so on, strategies prominent in the philosophical literature. We contend that what accounts for the explanatory power of these models is not that they have certain features in common with real systems. Rather, the models are explanatory because of a story about why a class of systems will all display the same large-scale behavior because the details that distinguish them are irrelevant. This story (...)
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    Optimality Explanations: A Plea for an Alternative Approach.Collin C. Rice - 2012 - Biology and Philosophy 27 (5):685-703.
    Recently philosophers of science have begun to pay more attention to the use of highly idealized mathematical models in scientific theorizing. An important example of this kind of highly idealized modeling is the widespread use of optimality models within evolutionary biology. One way to understand the explanations provided by these models is as a censored causal explanation: an explanation that omits certain causal factors in order to focus on a modular subset of the causal processes that led to the explanandum. (...)
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  3.  27
    Idealized Models, Holistic Distortions, and Universality.Collin C. Rice - 2018 - Synthese 195 (6):2795-2819.
    In this paper, I first argue against various attempts to justify idealizations in scientific models that explain by showing that they are harmless and isolable distortions of irrelevant features. In response, I propose a view in which idealized models are characterized as providing holistically distorted representations of their target system. I then suggest an alternative way that idealized modeling can be justified by appealing to universality.
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    How Are Models and Explanations Related?Yasha Rohwer & Collin C. Rice - 2016 - Erkenntnis 81 (5):1127-1148.
    Within the modeling literature, there is often an implicit assumption about the relationship between a given model and a scientific explanation. The goal of this article is to provide a unified framework with which to analyze the myriad relationships between a model and an explanation. Our framework distinguishes two fundamental kinds of relationships. The first is metaphysical, where the model is identified as an explanation or as a partial explanation. The second is epistemological, where the model produces understanding that is (...)
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    Factive Scientific Understanding Without Accurate Representation.Collin C. Rice - 2016 - Biology and Philosophy 31 (1):81-102.
    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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    Hypothetical Pattern Idealization and Explanatory Models.Yasha Rohwer & Collin C. Rice - 2013 - Philosophy of Science 80 (3):334-355.