Perspectival Models and Theory Unification

Abstract

Given that scientific realism is based on the assumption that there is a connection between a model’s predictive success and its truth, and given the success of multiple incompatible models in scientific practice, the realist has a problem. When the different models can be shown to arise as different approximations to a unified theory, however, one might think the realist to be able to accommodate such cases. I discuss a special class of models (generated as non-uniform limits of a unified theory) and argue that a realist interpretation has to understand these models of a system as ‘perspectival’, in close analogy to different spatial perspectives onto the same object. For this sort of case, I also respond to Morrison’s recent claim that in the process of unifying models into an overarching theory, explanatory and descriptive power are lost, leaving the unified theory with less of a claim to a realist interpretation than the models themselves.

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Cite this paper

@inproceedings{Rueger2005PerspectivalMA, title={Perspectival Models and Theory Unification}, author={Alexander Rueger}, year={2005} }