Model-Based Reasoning in Scientific Discovery

pp 23-40

Tracing the Development of Models in the Philosophy of Science

  • Daniela M. Bailer-JonesAffiliated withUniversität Gesamthochschule Paderborn

* Final gross prices may vary according to local VAT.

Get Access


An overview is provided of how the concept of a scientific model has devel-oped and changed in the philosophy of science in the course of this Century. I identify three shifts of interest in the treatment of the topic of scientific models. First, only from the 1950s did models begin to be considered relevant to the scientific enterprise, motivated by the desire to account for issues such as theory change and creativity in scientific discovery. Second, I examine how philosophers then increasingly concentrated on the analysis of the functions of models, e.g. for explanation or for guiding and suggesting new experiments. Finally, I show how an analysis of the functions of models could lead to the consideration of their function not just within science, but also in human cognition, so that models are now sometimes viewed as tools of actual (rather than logically reconstructed) scientific thinking.