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Explanatory schema and the process of model building

  • Collin Rice
  • Yasha Rohwer
  • André Ariew


In this paper, we argue that rather than exclusively focusing on trying to determine if an idealized model fits a particular account of scientific explanation, philosophers of science should also work on directly analyzing various explanatory schemas that reveal the steps and justification involved in scientists’ use of highly idealized models to formulate explanations. We develop our alternative methodology by analyzing historically important cases of idealized statistical modeling that use a three-step explanatory schema involving idealization, mathematical operation, and explanatory interpretation.


Explanation Modeling Idealization 



We would like to thank James Woodward, Robert Batterman, and two annonymous reviewers for there helpful feedback on previous versions of this article.


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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PhilosophyBryn Mawr CollegeBryn MawrUSA
  2. 2.Department of Humanities and Social SciencesOregon Institute of TechnologyKlamath FallsUSA
  3. 3.Department of PhilosophyUniversity of MissouriColumbiaUSA

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