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2016

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Philosophy Faculty Research and Scholarship

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Factive Scientific Understanding Without Accurate Representation, Collin Rice Jan 2016

Factive Scientific Understanding Without Accurate Representation, Collin Rice

Philosophy Faculty Research and Scholarship

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.