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Don't Blame the Idealizations (revised version)

Jones, Nicholaos (2013) Don't Blame the Idealizations (revised version). Journal for General Philosophy of Science, 44. pp. 85-100.

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Idealizing conditions are scapegoats for scientific hypotheses, too often blamed for falsehood better attributed to less obvious sources. But while the tendency to blame idealizations is common among both philosophers of science and scientists themselves, the blame is misplaced. Attention to the nature of idealizing conditions, the content of idealized hypotheses, and scientists' attitudes toward those hypotheses shows that idealizing conditions are blameless when hypotheses misrepresent. These conditions help to determine the content of idealized hypotheses, and they do so in a way that prevents those hypotheses from being false by virtue of their constituent idealizations.

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Item Type: Published Article or Volume
Additional Information: This is a corrected version of a work that appears in Journal for General Philosophy of Science. Due to an editorial error noticed after the possibility of correction, an uncorrected and unrevised version of this paper appears in print. While the central ideas of the published article and this posting are similar, this posting contains important and substantial corrections and revisions, and this version (but not the published version) responds to various comments from anonymous reviewers. This revised version of the work, in the author's opinion, is superior.
Keywords: ceteris paribus; idealization; scientific representation; scapegoat; scope restrictor; validity limit
Subjects: General Issues > Models and Idealization
Depositing User: Nicholaos Jones
Date Deposited: 14 Nov 2013 15:24
Last Modified: 14 Nov 2013 15:24
Item ID: 10095
Journal or Publication Title: Journal for General Philosophy of Science
Publisher: Springer
Official URL:
Subjects: General Issues > Models and Idealization
Date: 2013
Page Range: pp. 85-100
Volume: 44

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