The Turn of the Valve: Representing with Material Models

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Frigg, Roman; Nguyen, James
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preprint description
Many scientific models are representations. Building on Goodman and Elgin’s notion of representation-as we analyse what this claim involves by providing a general definition of what makes something a scientific model and formulating a novel account of how they represent. We call the result the DEKI account of representation, which offers a complex kind of representation involving an interplay of denotation, exemplification, keying up of properties, and imputation. Throughout we focus on material models, and we illustrate our claims with the Phillips-Newlyn machine. In the conclusion we suggest that, mutatis mutandis, the DEKI account can be carried over to other kinds of models, notably fictional and mathematical models.