Article ID: CBB123542063

Factive Scientific Understanding Without Accurate Representation (2015)


This paper analyzes two ways idealized biological models produce factive scientific understanding. I then argue that models can provide factive scientific understanding of a phenomenon without providing an accurate representation of the (difference-making) features of their real-world target system(s). My analysis of these cases also suggests that the debate over scientific realism needs to investigate the factive scientific understanding produced by scientists’ use of idealized models rather than the accuracy of scientific models themselves.

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Authors & Contributors
Maienschein, Jane A.
Minelli, Alessandro
Creath, Richard
Hull, David L.
Keller, Evelyn Fox
Kaplan, Jonathan Michael
Biology and Philosophy
Philosophy of Science
Journal of the History of Biology
Theory in Biosciences
Studies in History and Philosophy of Science
British Journal for the Philosophy of Science
Cambridge University Press
Harvard University Press
Oxford University Press
Developmental biology
Models and modeling in science
Philosophy of biology
Smith, John Maynard
Darwin, Charles Robert
Mill, John Stuart
Wilson, Edmund Beecher
Conklin, Edwin Grant
Watson, Hewett Cottrell
Time Periods
19th century
20th century
21st century
20th century, late
20th century, early
Great Britain

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