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Qualitative Theory and Chemical Explanation

Weisberg, Michael (2002) Qualitative Theory and Chemical Explanation. [Preprint]

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    Abstract

    Roald Hoffmann and other theorists claim that we we ought to use highly idealized chemical models (``qualitative models'') in order to increase our understanding of chemical phenomena, even though other models are available which make more highly accurate predictions. I assess this norm by examining one of the tradeoffs faced by model builders and model users --- the tradeoff between precision and generality. After arguing that this tradeoff obtains in many cases, I discuss how the existence of this tradeoff can help us defend Hoffmann's norm for modelling.


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    Item Type: Preprint
    Keywords: models, explanation, chemistry, Roald Hoffmann, tradeoffs, idealization
    Subjects: Specific Sciences > Chemistry
    General Issues > Explanation
    Conferences and Volumes: [2002] Philosophy of Science Assoc. 18th Biennial Mtg - PSA 2002: Contributed Papers (Milwaukee, WI; 2002) > PSA 2002 Symposia
    Depositing User: Michael Weisberg
    Date Deposited: 15 Feb 2003
    Last Modified: 07 Oct 2010 11:11
    Item ID: 1000
    URI: http://philsci-archive.pitt.edu/id/eprint/1000

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