Science and Fiction: Analysing the Concept of Fiction in Science and its Limits
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- Barwich, AS. J Gen Philos Sci (2013) 44: 357. doi:10.1007/s10838-013-9228-2
A recent and growing discussion in philosophy addresses the construction of models and their use in scientific reasoning by comparison with fiction. This comparison helps to explore the problem of mediated observation and, hence, the lack of an unambiguous reference of representations. Examining the usefulness of the concept of fiction for a comparison with non-denoting elements in science, the aim of this paper is to present reasonable grounds for drawing a distinction between these two kinds of representation. In particular, my account will suggest a demarcation between fictional and non-fictional discourse as involving two different ways of interpreting representations. This demarcation, leading me to distinguish between fictional and non-fictional forms of enquiry, will provide a useful tool to explore to what extent the descriptions given by a model can be justified as making claims about the world and to what degree they are a consequence of the model’s particular construction.