SOPhiA 2022

Salzburgiense Concilium Omnibus Philosophis Analyticis

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Programme - Talk

Models and Their Normativity
(Philosophy of Science, English)

Recently, in the discussion of models, especially in the context of the social sciences, the theme of normativity has increasingly come up. While some authors claim that normative models constitute an entirely separate class, distinct from the widely discussed descriptive ones (Beck and Jahn 2021), the problem of normativity of models understood in this way usually boils down to issues related to the success of agent based models in particular social sciences. In my presentation I will therefore consider the question whether this kind of normativity is the only one that can interest us in theoretical reflection on modelling, referring, on the one hand, to one of the key aspects of scientific models, which is that they make inferences possible (see Su__rez 2009), and on the other hand to the issue of the so-called directive representations (Millikan 1995). Although it may seem that models constructed for normative guidance appear different from those designed to meet the basic needs of the scientific enterprise, the problems of their efficacy or adequacy related to idealisations are not entirely separate (see Colyvan 2013). Finally, I will also point out that the relationship between descriptive and normative components in the case of models may be analogous to that discussed on the grounds of some theories of legal interpretation (e.g. Sarkowicz 1995), which might shed new light on the issue of normativity in the context of modelling.

Selected bibliography (texts available in English):

Beck, L., & Jahn, M. (2021). Normative Models and Their Success. Philosophy of the Social Sciences, 51(2), 123-150.

Colyvan, M. (2013). Idealisations in Normative Models. Synthese, 190(8), 1337-1350.

Millikan, R. G. (1995). Pushmi-Pullyu Representations. Philosophical Perspectives, 9, 185-200.

Sarkowicz, R. (1995). Levels of Interpretation of a Legal Text. Ratio Juris, 8, 104.

Su__rez, M. (2009), Scientific Fictions as Rules of Inference. In M. Su__rez (ed.), Fictions in Science: Philosophical Essays on Modeling and Idealization. London: Routledge, pp. 158-178.

Time: 14:00-14:30, 09. September 2022 (Friday)
Location: SR 1.004

Wojciech Grabon 
(University of Warsaw, Poland)

Testability and Meaning deco