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External Representations and Scientific Understanding
Department of Political and Economic Studies, University of Helsinki, Helsinki, Finland.
Department of Social Research, University of Helsinki, Helsinki, Finland.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-5237-9695
2015 (English)In: Synthese, ISSN 0039-7857, E-ISSN 1573-0964, Vol. 192, no 12, 3817-3837 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

This paper provides an inferentialist account of model-based understanding by combining a counterfactual account of explanation and an inferentialist account of representation with a view of modeling as extended cognition. This account makes it understandable how the manipulation of surrogate systems like models can provide genuinely new empirical understanding about the world. Similarly, the account pro- vides an answer to the question how models, that always incorporate assumptions that are literally untrue of the model target, can still provide factive explanations. Finally, the paper shows how the contrastive counterfactual theory of explanation can provide tools for assessing the explanatory power of models. 

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Springer Netherlands, 2015. Vol. 192, no 12, 3817-3837 p.
Keyword [en]
models, understanding, explanation, cognition
National Category
URN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-117466DOI: 10.1007/s11229-014-0591-2OAI: diva2:808465
Available from: 2015-04-28 Created: 2015-04-28 Last updated: 2016-04-06Bibliographically approved

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Ylikoski, Petri
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