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Reconstructing RealityModels, Mathematics, and Simulations$
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Margaret Morrison

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780199380275

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2015

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199380275.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 28 February 2021

Making the Best of It

Making the Best of It

Inconsistent versus Complementary Models

(p.156) 5 Making the Best of It
Reconstructing Reality

Margaret Morrison

Oxford University Press

This chapter addresses problems that arise when using different models to represent the same system. The chapter shows why in some cases this seems relatively unproblematic (turbulence models) while others create genuine difficulties when interpreting the information that models provide (nuclear models). What the examples show is that while complementary models needn’t be a hindrance to knowledge acquisition, the inconsistency present in nuclear cases is, since it is indicative of a lack of genuine theoretical understanding. Although scientific perspectivism claims to offer a resolution to these problems, closer examination indicates that it is of no help in resolving the problem of conflicting models. It is only appropriate in cases where there is no real inconsistency among different models or in cases where the scientific context itself embodies a form of perspectivism. Hence, philosophically speaking, perspectivism is completely idle as a position from which to interpret inconsistent or incompatible claims.

Keywords:   nuclear models, turbulence, perspectivism, realism, instrumentalism

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