Disentangling Scientific Representation

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Contessa, Gabriele
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The main aim of this paper is to disentangle three senses in which we can say that a model represents a system—denotation epistemic representation, and successful epistemic representation--and to individuate what questions arise from each sense of the notion of representation as used in this context. Also, I argue that a model is an epistemic representation of a system only if a user adopts a general interpretation of the model in terms of a system. In the process, I hope to clarify where those who, following Craig Callander and Jonathan Cohen, claim that there is no special problem about scientific representation go wrong. In the terminology adopted here, even if scientific representation is only an instance of epistemic representation, scientific representation should not be confounded with denotation.