Seminar by Natalia Carrillo – University of Copenhagen

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Seminar by Natalia Carrillo

Models and Reality

During this presentation I will sketch a way in which philosophy of science can support the articulation of arguments that can show a heterodox model can be helpful even though there is a well-accepted, canonical model of the same part of the world within the scientific community.  This involves taking models to be more than representations of phenomena. Some philosophers of science contend that good models represent reality accurately – by being isomorphic or similar to their targets, for example – so we learn by deducing from the structure of the model to the structure of the target phenomenon. This suggests that two models that address the same part of the world whence describing it differently should either reduce to each other or compete. I argue against this in favor of a more complex view of models according to which they aid scientist by serving as tools for inquiry, such that models may be useful even though they are not isomorphic to the phenomenon they model. This view, I suggest, can make the arguments for the value of heterodox models easier to articulate.