Models and fiction

Citation data:

Synthese, ISSN: 0039-7857, Vol: 172, Issue: 2, Page: 251-268

Publication Year:
2010
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Repository URL:
http://philsci-archive.pitt.edu/id/eprint/11220
DOI:
10.1007/s11229-009-9505-0
Author(s):
Roman Frigg
Publisher(s):
Springer Nature, Springer
Tags:
Arts and Humanities, Social Sciences
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article description
Most scientific models are not physical objects, and this raises important questions. What sort of entity are models, what is truth in a model, and how do we learn about models? In this paper I argue that models share important aspects in common with literary fiction, and that therefore theories of fiction can be brought to bear on these questions. In particular, I argue that the pretence theory as developed by Walton (1990, Mimesis as make-believe: on the foundations of the representational arts. Harvard University Press, Cambridge/MA) has the resources to answer these questions. I introduce this account, outline the answers that it offers, and develop a general picture of scientific modelling based on it. © Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2009.

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