Published online by Cambridge University Press: 01 January 2022
In this article I connect two debates in the philosophy of science: the questions of scientific representation and both model and theoretical equivalence. I argue that by paying attention to how a model is used to draw inferences about its target system, we can define a notion of theoretical equivalence that turns on whether models license the same claims about the same target systems. I briefly consider the implications of this for two questions that have recently been discussed in the context of the formal philosophy of science.
I have benefited from numerous fruitful discussions with Roman Frigg and Bryan Roberts on the material contained in this article. I am also grateful to Marton Gömöri, Ashton Green, Xavi Lanao, Pablo Ruiz de Olano, and Jim Weatherall for very useful comments on previous drafts. Thanks also to audiences at the University of Notre Dame and the 2016 Philosophy of Science Association meeting for constructive feedback.