What Models Are

Part of the New Directions in the Philosophy of Science book series (NDPS)


It is time to introduce the make-believe view and see if it can help us to understand what is going on in scientific modelling. In this chapter, we will focus on ontology. Section 2.1 will provide a brief introduction to the central features of Walton’s theory. We will then see how this theory may be applied to both physical and theoretical models (Sections 2.2.1 and 2.2.2). In the remainder of the chapter, we will focus on the ontology of theoretical modelling. In Section 2.3, we will see that the make-believe view can make sense of what scientists are doing when they model the world without positing any object that satisfies their modelling assumptions. In Section 2.4, we will examine how this direct account of theoretical modelling differs from those that compare model-systems to fictional characters.


Actual Object Fictional Character Concrete Object Theoretical Hypothesis Ether Model 
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Copyright information

© Adam Toon 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PhilosophyUniversity of BielefeldGermany

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