Precis of Scientific representation: paradoxes of perspective
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Science represents natural phenomena concretely by such means as pictures, graphs, table-top models, and computer simulations, as well as more abstractly by theories and mathematical models. In the decades around 1900, the Bildtheorie—‘picture theory of science’—framed much discussion and controversy among physicists. It emphasized one aspect central to the scientific enterprise: representation of the empirical phenomena, by means of artifacts, both physical and mathematical. With respect to theories in contemporary science this book defends an empiricist structuralist version of the ‘picture theory’ of science, compatible with a constructive empiricist view, through an inquiry into the problems and paradoxes that came to light in twentieth-century philosophies of science.
The book begins with an inquiry into the nature of representation by means of artifacts in general, drawing on a. o. Plato’s dialogues, the development of perspectival drawing in the Renaissance, and the geometric...