# Approximation and Idealization: Why the Difference Matters*

@article{Norton2012ApproximationAI, title={Approximation and Idealization: Why the Difference Matters*}, author={J. Norton}, journal={Philosophy of Science}, year={2012}, volume={79}, pages={207 - 232} }

It is proposed that we use the term “approximation” for inexact description of a target system and “idealization” for another system whose properties also provide an inexact description of the target system. Since systems generated by a limiting process can often have quite unexpected—even inconsistent—properties, familiar limit processes used in statistical physics can fail to provide idealizations but merely provide approximations.

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