Models as Partial Explanations
Models incorporate idealizations that do not hold in natural systems, and yet models elucidate natural systems. How can a model explain a natural system’s operation despite a failure to represent the system accurately? This chapter presents an answer to this question. It argues that an explanatory model, despite idealizations, offers a partial explanation of a phenomenon by displaying the operation of some factors behind the phenomenon’s production. The first section presents this view, the second compares it to rival views, and the third shows how it guides construction of models.
KeywordsExplanatory Power Natural System Actual World Explanatory Model Inductive Inference
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