Skip to main content Accessibility help
×
Home
Hostname: page-component-7bb4899584-rm9q9 Total loading time: 0.374 Render date: 2023-01-26T23:13:57.765Z Has data issue: true Feature Flags: { "useRatesEcommerce": false } hasContentIssue true

On the Pragmatic Equivalence between Representing Data and Phenomena

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  01 January 2022

Abstract

Van Fraassen argues that data provide the target-end structures required by structuralist accounts of scientific representation. But models represent phenomena not data. Van Fraassen agrees but argues that there is no pragmatic difference between taking a scientific model to accurately represent a physical system and accurately represent data extracted from it. In this article I reconstruct his argument and show that it turns on the false premise that the pragmatic content of acts of representation include doxastic commitments.

Type
Research Article
Copyright
Copyright © The Philosophy of Science Association

Access options

Get access to the full version of this content by using one of the access options below. (Log in options will check for institutional or personal access. Content may require purchase if you do not have access.)

Footnotes

I am particularly grateful to Roman Frigg, Alexandru Marcoci, F. A. Muller, Bryan Roberts, and two anonymous referees for this journal for extensive feedback on earlier drafts of this article. Thanks also to audiences at Mathematizing Science II at the University of East Anglia, the BSPS Annual Meeting 2014, and the PSA Biennial Meeting 2014 for constructive comments.

References

Bogen, James, and Woodward, James. 1988. “Saving the Phenomena.” Philosophical Review 97 (3): 303–52.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Brading, Katherine, and Landry, Elaine. 2006. “Scientific Structuralism: Presentation and Representation.” Philosophy of Science 73 (5): 571–81.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Bradley, Richard, Frigg, Roman, Steele, Katie, Thompson, Erica, and Werndl, Charlotte. Forthcoming. “The Philosophy of Climate Science.” In History and Philosophy of Science and Technology, ed. Carlos Galles, Pablo Lorenzano, Eduardo Ortiz, and Hans-Jörg Rheinberger. Encyclopedia of Life Support Systems 4. Isle of Man: EOLSS.Google Scholar
Bueno, Otávio, and French, Steven. 2011. “How Theories Represent.” British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 62 (4): 857–94.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Callender, Craig, and Cohen, Jonathan. 2006. “There Is No Special Problem about Scientific Representation.” Theoria 55:725.Google Scholar
Contessa, Gabriele. 2007. “Scientific Representation, Interpretation, and Surrogative Reasoning.” Philosophy of Science 74 (1): 4868.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Contessa, Gabriele 2011. “Scientific Models and Representation.” In The Continuum Companion to the Philosophy of Science, ed. French, Steven and Saatsi, Juha, 120–37. London: Continnum.Google Scholar
French, Steven. 2003. “A Model-Theoretic Account of Representation; or, I Don’t Know Much about Art … but I Know It Involves Isomorphism.” Philosophy of Science 70 (5): 1472–83.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
French, Steven, and Ladyman, James. 1999. “Reinflating the Semantic Approach.” International Studies in the Philosophy of Science 13 (2): 103–21.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Friedman, Milton. 1953. “The Methodology of Positive Economics.” In Essays in Positive Economics, ed. Friedman, Milton, 343. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
Frigg, Roman. 2002. “Models and Representation: Why Structures Are Not Enough.” Measurement in Physics and Economics Project Discussion Paper Series, DP MEAS 25/02, London School of Economics.Google Scholar
Frigg, Roman 2006. “Scientific Representation and the Semantic View of Theories.” Theoria 55:4965.Google Scholar
Frigg, Roman 2010. “Fiction and Scientific Representation.” In Beyond Mimesis and Nominalism: Representation in Art and Science, ed. Frigg, Roman and Hunter, Matthew, 97138. Berlin: Springer.Google Scholar
Goodman, Nelson. 1976. Languages of Art. 2nd ed. Indianapolis: Hackett.Google Scholar
Harris, Todd. 2003. “Data Models and the Acquisition and Manipulation of Data.” Philosophy of Science 70 (5): 1508–17.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Muller, F. A. 2011. “Reflections on the Revolution at Stanford.” Synthese 183 (1): 87114.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Muller, F. A., and van Fraassen, Bas C.. 2008. “How to Talk about Unobservables.” Analysis 68 (3): 197205.Google Scholar
Mundy, Brent. 1986. “On the General Theory of Meaningful Representation.” Synthese 67 (3): 391437.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Stocker, Thomas F., Qin, Dahe, Plattner, Gian-Kasper, Tignor, Melinda, Allen, Simon K., Boschung, Judith, Nauels, Alexander, Xia, Yu, Bex, Vincent, and Midgley, Pauline M., eds. 2013. Climate Change 2013: The Physical Science Basis; Contribution of Working Group I to the Fifth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
Suárez, Mauricio. 2003. “Scientific Representation: Against Similarity and Isomorphism.” International Studies in the Philosophy of Science 17 (3): 225–44.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Suárez, Mauricio 2004. “An Inferential Conception of Scientific Representation.” Philosophy of Science 71 (5): 767–79.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Suárez, Mauricio 2015. “Deflationary Representation, Inference, and Practice.” Studies in History and Philosophy of Science 49:3647.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Suppes, Patrick. 1960. “A Comparison of the Meaning and Uses of Models in Mathematics and the Empirical Sciences.” Synthese 12 (2/3): 287301.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Suppes, Patrick 1962. “Models of Data.” In Logic, Methodology and Philosophy of Science, ed. Nagel, Ernest, Suppes, Patrick, and Tarski, Alfed, 252–61. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press.Google Scholar
Thomson-Jones, Martin. 2011. “Scientific Representation: Paradoxes of Perspective.” Review of Scientific Representation: Paradoxes of Perspective, by van Fraassen, Bas C.. Australasian Journal of Philosophy 89 (3): 567–70.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Toon, Adam. 2010. “Models as Make-Believe.” In Beyond Mimesis and Nominalism: Representation in Art and Science, ed. Frigg, Roman and Hunter, Matthew, 7196. Berlin: Springer.Google Scholar
van Fraassen, Bas C. 1980. The Scientific Image. Oxford: Oxford University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
van Fraassen, Bas C. 2008. Scientific Representation: Paradoxes of Perspective. Oxford: Oxford University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
van Fraassen, Bas C. 2010. “Reply to Contessa, Ghins, and Healey.” Analysis Reviews 70 (3): 547–56.Google Scholar
Weisberg, Michael, and Reisman, Kenneth. 2008. “The Robust Volterra Principle.” Philosophy of Science 75 (5): 106–31.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
9
Cited by

Save article to Kindle

To save this article to your Kindle, first ensure coreplatform@cambridge.org is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part of your Kindle email address below. Find out more about saving to your Kindle.

Note you can select to save to either the @free.kindle.com or @kindle.com variations. ‘@free.kindle.com’ emails are free but can only be saved to your device when it is connected to wi-fi. ‘@kindle.com’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.

Find out more about the Kindle Personal Document Service.

On the Pragmatic Equivalence between Representing Data and Phenomena
Available formats
×

Save article to Dropbox

To save this article to your Dropbox account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you used this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your Dropbox account. Find out more about saving content to Dropbox.

On the Pragmatic Equivalence between Representing Data and Phenomena
Available formats
×

Save article to Google Drive

To save this article to your Google Drive account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you used this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your Google Drive account. Find out more about saving content to Google Drive.

On the Pragmatic Equivalence between Representing Data and Phenomena
Available formats
×
×

Reply to: Submit a response

Please enter your response.

Your details

Please enter a valid email address.

Conflicting interests

Do you have any conflicting interests? *