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Qualitative Theory and Chemical Explanation

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


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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
Weisberg, Michael
Keywords: models, explanation, chemistry, Roald Hoffmann, tradeoffs, idealization
Subjects: Specific Sciences > Chemistry
General Issues > Explanation
Depositing User: Michael Weisberg
Date Deposited: 15 Feb 2003
Last Modified: 07 Oct 2010 15:11
Item ID: 1000
Subjects: Specific Sciences > Chemistry
General Issues > Explanation
Date: November 2002

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