How to Do Science with Models: A Philosophical Primer by Axel GelfertHow to Do Science with Models: A Philosophical Primer by Axel Gelfert

How to Do Science with Models: A Philosophical Primer

byAxel Gelfert

Paperback | February 8, 2016

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Taking scientific practice as its starting point, this book charts the complex territory of models used in science. It examines what scientific models are and what their function is. Reliance on models is pervasive in science, and scientists often need to construct models in order to explain or predict anything of interest at all. The diversity of kinds of models one finds in science - ranging from toy models and scale models to theoretical and mathematical models - has attracted attention not only from scientists, but also from philosophers, sociologists, and historians of science. This has given rise to a wide variety of case studies that look at the different uses to which models have been put in specific scientific contexts. By exploring current debates on the use and building of models via cutting-edge examples drawn from physics and biology, the book provides broad insight into the methodology of modelling in the natural sciences. It pairs specific arguments with introductory material relating to the ontology and the function of models, and provides some historical context to the debates as well as a sketch of general positions in the philosophy of scientific models in the process.


Axel Gelfert is Associate Professor in the Department of Philosophy at the National University of Singapore. He holds a PhD in History and Philosophy of Science from the University of Cambridge. His research revolves around issues in the philosophy of science and technology, social epistemology, and the history of philosophy. He is the...
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Title:How to Do Science with Models: A Philosophical PrimerFormat:PaperbackDimensions:135 pagesPublished:February 8, 2016Publisher:Springer-Verlag/Sci-Tech/TradeLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:3319279521

ISBN - 13:9783319279527

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Table of Contents

Chapter 1: What are Scientific Models? Chapter 2: Scientific Representation and the Uses of Scientific Models.- Chapter 3: Strategies of Model-Building: Examples from Scientific Practice.- Chapter 4: The Question of Trade-Offs.- Chapter 5: Scientific Models as Contributors to Inquiry.- Chapter 6: The Embodied Dimension of Models.- Chapter 7: Conclusion.

Editorial Reviews

Taking scientific practice as its starting point, this book charts the complex territory of models used in science. It examines what scientific models are and what their function is. Reliance on models is pervasive in science, and scientists often need to construct models in order to explain or predict anything of interest at all. The diversity of kinds of models one finds in science - ranging from toy models and scale models to theoretical and mathematical models - has attracted attention not only from scientists, but also from philosophers, sociologists, and historians of science. This has given rise to a wide variety of case studies that look at the different uses to which models have been put in specific scientific contexts. By exploring current debates on the use and building of models via cutting-edge examples drawn from physics and biology, the book provides broad insight into the methodology of modelling in the natural sciences. It pairs specific arguments with introductory material relating to the ontology and the function of models, and provides some historical context to the debates as well as a sketch of general positions in the philosophy of scientific models in the process."This is a truly excellent book. Not only does it provide insightful analysis of contemporary philosophical accounts of modelling, but it draws our attention to important yet unexplored questions related to the exploratory function of models and their connection to issues in the philosophy of technology. By focusing our attention on a broad range of examples it provides the best systematic treatment of scientific modelling to appear in many years. Highly recommended!" (Margaret Morrison, University of Toronto)