The crucial role of models in science
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The development and use of models as research tools to understand the world continues to fascinate scholars in science and technology studies (STS), and particularly those interested in the dynamics of scientific knowledge production and related scholarship in the history and philosophy of science (HPS). Models are ubiquitous in scientific practice, and yet their sheer diversity of forms and roles dazzles anyone attempting to analyze their epistemic significance and social roles. Moreover, while philosophers have published countless studies of the criteria used by scientists to develop and select models as representations of objects and processes in the world (Frigg and Hartmann 2012), what makes a model or a modeling activity successful among researchers—what makes its results convincing, its use fruitful, and its manipulation satisfying—remains shrouded in mystery. Perhaps the most cryptic aspect of modeling work is its concreteness, which becomes evident when considering cases of...
This work was funded by the European Research Council Grant award 335925.
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