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Scientific discovery through fictionally modelling reality

Salis, Fiora (2018) Scientific discovery through fictionally modelling reality. Topoi. ISSN 0167-7411

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Identification Number: 10.1007/s11245-018-9582-0


How do scientific models represent in a way that enables us to discover new truths about reality and draw inferences about it? Contemporary accounts of scientific discovery answer this question by focusing on the cognitive mechanisms involved in the generation of new ideas and concepts in terms of a special sort of reasoning—or model-based reasoning—involving imagery. Alternatively, I argue that answering this question requires that we recognise the crucial role of the propositional imagination in the construction and development of models for the purpose of generating hypotheses that are plausible candidates for truth. I propose simple fictionalism as a new account of models as Waltonian games of make-believe and suggest that models can lead to genuine scientific discovery when they are used as representations that denote real world phenomena and generate two main kinds of theoretical hypotheses, model-world comparisons and direct attributions.

Item Type: Article
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2018 The Author
Divisions: CPNSS
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > B Philosophy (General)
Q Science > Q Science (General)
Date Deposited: 02 Aug 2018 16:20
Last Modified: 20 Oct 2021 00:39

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