My aim in this paper is to articulate an account of scientific modeling that reconciles pluralism about modeling with a modest form of scientific realism. The central claim of this approach is that the models of a given physical phenomenon can present different aspects of the phenomenon. This allows us, in certain special circumstances, to be confident that we are capturing genuine features of the world, even when our modeling occurs independently of a wholly theoretical motivation. This framework is illustrated using a recent debate from meteorology.
KeywordsRealism Idealization Models Representation
Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.
- Batterman, R. (2002). The devil in the details: Asymptotic reasoning in explanation, reduction, and emergence. New York: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
- Cartwright, N. (1999). The dappled world: A study of the boundaries of science. New York: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
- Chakravartty, A. (2009). Informational versus functional theories of scientific representation. Synthese. doi: 10.1007/s11229-009-9502-3.
- Giere, R. (2006). Scientific perspectivism. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
- Levins, R. (1966). The strategy of model building in population biology. American Scientist, 54, 421–431.Google Scholar
- Morrison, M. (2005). Approximating the real: The role of idealizations in physical theory. In M. R. Jones & N. Cartwright (Eds.), Idealization XII: Correcting the model. Idealization and abstraction in the sciences (pp. 145–172). Amsterdam: Rodopi.Google Scholar
- Oreskes, N., & Belitz, K. (2001). Philosophical issues in model assessment. In M. G. Anderson & P. D. Bates (Eds.), Model validation: Perspectives in hydrological science (pp. 23–41). London: Wiley.Google Scholar
- Pincock, C. (2005). Conditions on the use of the one-dimensional Heat equation. In G. Sica (Ed.), Essays on the foundations of mathematics and logic (Vol. 2, pp. 67–79). Monza, Italy: Polimetrica.Google Scholar
- Pincock, C. (forthcoming). Towards a philosophy of applied mathematics. In O. Bueno & Ø. Linnebo (Eds.), New waves in philosophy of mathematics. Palgrave Macmillan.Google Scholar
- Psillos, S. (1999). Scientific realism. New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
- Weisberg, M. (2006). Robustness analysis. Philosophy of Science (Proceedings), 73, 730–743.Google Scholar
- Wimsatt, W. (2007). Re-engineering philosophy for limited beings: Piecewise approximations to reality. Cambridge: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar