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It’s Not a Game: Accurate Representation with Toy Models

Nguyen, James (2019) It’s Not a Game: Accurate Representation with Toy Models. [Preprint]

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Abstract

Drawing on ‘interpretational’ accounts of scientific representation, I argue that the use of so-called ‘toy models’ provides no particular philosophical puzzle. More specifically; I argue that once one gives up the idea that models are accurate representations of their targets only if they are appropriately similar, then simple and highly idealized models can be accurate in the same way that more complex models can be. Their differences turn on trading precision for generality, but, if they are appropriately interpreted, toy models should nevertheless be considered accurate representations. A corollary of my discussion is a novel way of thinking about idealization more generally: idealized models may distort features of their targets, but they needn’t misrepresent them.


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Item Type: Preprint
Creators:
CreatorsEmailORCID
Nguyen, Jamesjames.nguyen@sas.ac.uk
Keywords: Models, Representation, Idealisation
Subjects: General Issues > Models and Idealization
Depositing User: James Nguyen
Date Deposited: 25 Mar 2019 15:49
Last Modified: 25 Mar 2019 15:49
Item ID: 15851
DOI or Unique Handle: https://doi.org/10.1093/bjps/axz010
Subjects: General Issues > Models and Idealization
Date: 23 March 2019
URI: https://philsci-archive-dev.library.pitt.edu/id/eprint/15851

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