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Modelling Molecules: Beyond the Epistemic-Pragmatic Dichotomy

de Regt, Henk W. (2006) Modelling Molecules: Beyond the Epistemic-Pragmatic Dichotomy. In: [2006] Philosophy of Science Assoc. 20th Biennial Mtg (Vancouver) > PSA 2006 Contributed Papers.

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    Abstract

    I argue that scientific explanation has a pragmatic dimension that is epistemically relevant. Philosophers with an objectivist approach to scientific explanation (e.g. Hempel, Trout) hold that the pragmatic aspects of explanation do not have any epistemic import. I argue against this view by focusing on the role of models in scientific explanation. Applying recent accounts of modelling (Cartwright, Morgan and Morrison) to a case-study of nineteenth-century physics, I analyse the pragmatic dimension of the process of model construction. I highlight the crucial roles that conceptual tools, skills, and commitments play in this dimension, and show how they contribute to the epistemic aim of science.


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    Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (UNSPECIFIED)
    Keywords: models, explanation, kinetic theory, Maxwell, Boltzmann
    Subjects: General Issues > Models and Idealization
    General Issues > Explanation
    Specific Sciences > Physics > Statistical Mechanics/Thermodynamics
    Conferences and Volumes: [2006] Philosophy of Science Assoc. 20th Biennial Mtg (Vancouver) > PSA 2006 Contributed Papers
    Depositing User: Henk W. de Regt
    Date Deposited: 18 Oct 2006
    Last Modified: 07 Oct 2010 11:14
    Item ID: 2992
    URI: http://philsci-archive.pitt.edu/id/eprint/2992

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