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Models and Explanation

Bokulich, Alisa (2017) Models and Explanation. Springer Handbook of Model-Based Science.

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Abstract

Detailed examinations of scientific practice have revealed that the use of idealized
models in the sciences is pervasive. These models play a central role in not only the
investigation and prediction of phenomena, but in their received scientific explanations as
well. This has led philosophers of science to begin revising the traditional philosophical
accounts of scientific explanation in order to make sense of this practice. These new
model-based accounts of scientific explanation, however, raise a number of key
questions: Can the fictions and falsehoods inherent in the modeling practice do real
explanatory work? Do some highly abstract and mathematical models exhibit a noncausal
form of scientific explanation? How can one distinguish an exploratory "howpossibly"
model explanation from a genuine "how-actually" model explanation? Do
modelers face tradeoffs such that a model that is optimized for yielding explanatory
insight, for example, might fail to be the most predictively accurate, and vice versa? This
chapter explores the various answers that have been given to these questions.


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Item Type: Published Article or Volume
Creators:
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Bokulich, Alisa
Keywords: Models, Explanation
Subjects: General Issues > Explanation
General Issues > Models and Idealization
Depositing User: Alisa Bokulich
Date Deposited: 12 Feb 2018 13:56
Last Modified: 12 Feb 2018 13:56
Item ID: 14374
Journal or Publication Title: Springer Handbook of Model-Based Science
Publisher: Springer
Subjects: General Issues > Explanation
General Issues > Models and Idealization
Date: 2017
URI: http://philsci-archive.pitt.edu/id/eprint/14374

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