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Fiction As a Vehicle for Truth: Moving Beyond the Ontic Conception

Bokulich, Alisa (2016) Fiction As a Vehicle for Truth: Moving Beyond the Ontic Conception. The Monist, 99 (3). pp. 260-279.

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Abstract

Despite widespread evidence that fictional models play an explanatory role in science,
resistance remains to the idea that fictions can explain. A central source of this resistance
is a particular view about what explanations are, namely, the ontic conception of
explanation. According to the ontic conception, explanations just are the concrete entities
in the world. I argue this conception is ultimately incoherent and that even a weaker
version of the ontic conception fails. Fictional models can succeed in offering genuine
explanations by correctly capturing relevant patterns of counterfactual dependence and
licensing correct inferences. Using the example of Newtonian force explanations of the
tides, I show how, even in science, fiction can be a vehicle for truth.


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Item Type: Published Article or Volume
Creators:
CreatorsEmailORCID
Bokulich, Alisa
Keywords: Fictions, Models, Ontic
Subjects: General Issues > Explanation
General Issues > Models and Idealization
Depositing User: Alisa Bokulich
Date Deposited: 12 Feb 2018 13:59
Last Modified: 12 Feb 2018 13:59
Item ID: 14376
Journal or Publication Title: The Monist
Official URL: https://academic.oup.com/monist/article-abstract/9...
Subjects: General Issues > Explanation
General Issues > Models and Idealization
Date: 2016
Page Range: pp. 260-279
Volume: 99
Number: 3
URI: http://philsci-archive.pitt.edu/id/eprint/14376

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