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Explanatory Fictions

Bokulich, Alisa (2009) Explanatory Fictions. Fictions in Science: Philosophical Essays on Modeling and Idealization. pp. 91-109.

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Abstract

In what follows, I defend the view that, in some cases, fictions can genuinely explain. I begin, in section 2, by situating my approach to fictions in the context of Vaihinger’s classic account, then, in section 3, turn to the concrete case of fictional classical orbits explaining quantum spectra in modern semiclassical mechanics. In section 4, I introduce a new philosophical account of scientific explanation that I argue is capable of making sense of the explanatory power of fictions. Finally, I conclude in section 5 by relating this case study and the new philosophical account of scientific explanation back to Vaihinger’s account of fictions.


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Item Type: Published Article or Volume
Creators:
CreatorsEmailORCID
Bokulich, Alisaabokulic@bu.edu0000-0002-9406-3904
Additional Information: Bokulich, Alisa (2009) “Explanatory Fictions” in Fictions in Science: Philosophical Essays on Modeling and Idealization, M. Suárez (ed.), Routledge, pp. 91-109.
Keywords: Models, Explanation, Fictions in Science, Idealizations, Vaihinger, Semiclassical Mechanics, Quantum Mechanics, Classical Mechanics
Subjects: General Issues > Explanation
General Issues > Models and Idealization
Specific Sciences > Physics
Specific Sciences > Physics > Quantum Mechanics
Depositing User: Alisa Bokulich
Date Deposited: 02 Jan 2021 00:12
Last Modified: 02 Jan 2021 00:12
Item ID: 18553
Journal or Publication Title: Fictions in Science: Philosophical Essays on Modeling and Idealization
Publisher: Routledge
Official URL: https://www.routledge.com/Fictions-in-Science-Phil...
Subjects: General Issues > Explanation
General Issues > Models and Idealization
Specific Sciences > Physics
Specific Sciences > Physics > Quantum Mechanics
Date: 2009
Page Range: pp. 91-109
URI: https://philsci-archive-dev.library.pitt.edu/id/eprint/18553

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