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date: 12 May 2021

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter discusses the relation between models and theories as characterized by the syntactic and semantic views, as well as how that relation is understood in the more scientifically oriented or practice-based accounts of models. It also addresses epistemic issues concerning the model-world relationship and the importance of representation and explanation in assessing how abstract models deliver concrete information. The chapter claims that similarity and isomorphism, construed as general criteria, are often insufficient to characterize the way models relate to their target systems. Although no general theory of modeling can address these issues in a systematic way it is still possible to provide an in-depth philosophical analyses of how the abstraction and idealization present in models can nevertheless tell us important things about the physical world.

Keywords: semantic view, syntactic view, representation, explanation, similarity, isomorphism, abstraction, idealization, model, theories

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