A Parser as an Epistemic Artefact: A Material View on Models

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Knuuttila, Tarja; Voutilainen, Atro
preprint description
The purpose of this paper is to suggest that models in scientific practice can be conceived of as epistemic artefacts. Approaching models this way accommodates many such things that working scientists themselves call models but which the semantic conception of models does not duly recognize as such. That models are epistemic artefacts implies, firstly, that they cannot be understood apart from purposeful human activity. Secondly, it implies that they are somehow materialized inhabitants of the intersubjective field of human activity. Thirdly, it implies that models can function also as knowledge objects. We argue that models as epistemic artefacts give knowledge in many other ways than just via direct representative links. To substantiate our view we use an example of a language-technological artefact, a parser.