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Summary: Uses Maxwell’s model of the ether as a case study in accounting for the role of fictions in science. Argues that we should understand idealisation and abstraction as being different from fiction. Fictional models for Morrison are those that are deliberately intended to be such that the relationship between their structure and the structure of the concrete systems they model is not (immediately) apparent. This is different from mere idealisation, where certain structural features are omitted to make calculations more tractable.
Comment: Very useful as a primary or secondary reading in an advanced undergraduate course on philosophy of science (or perhaps on philosophy of fiction). It is philosophically sophisticated, but also treats the science in enough detail to provide students with some clear ideas about the nature of scientific representational practices themselves. Would be appropriate in sections on scientific representation or modelling.[This is a stub entry. Please add your comments to help us expand it]Export citation in BibTeX formatExport text citationView this text on PhilPapersExport citation in Reference Manager formatExport citation in EndNote formatExport citation in Zotero format
Fictions, representations, and reality
Morrison, Margaret. Fictions, representations, and reality
2009, In Mauricio Suárez (ed.), Fictions in Science: Philosophical Essays on Modeling and Idealization. Routledge.