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Minnesota Center for Philosophy of Science Presents

Angela Potochnik "Idealization and Many Aims"

4/26/19, 3:35 PM

About this event

"Idealization and Many Aims"

Angela Potochnik

Philosophy, University of Cincinnati

Abstract: Idealizations are assumptions made without regard for whether they are true, often with full knowledge that they are false. Idealizations detract from the accuracy of scientific theories and models, but they can contribute to scientific understanding by simplifying theories and models and increasing the salience of focal features. In this talk, I suggest that this contribution to understanding varies according to researchers’ specific aims. Different aims occasion different treatments of the same phenomenon. This motivates a pluralism regarding scientific products: idealized representation gives rise to a continuing variety of representations of any given phenomenon, each indexed to a highly specific aim. I clarify and support this view by contrasting it with Khalifa’s `accuracy monism.’

This public lecture is free, no registration is required.
Contact: Janet McKernan mcps@umn.edu 612-625-6635
Event Location
  • 155 Nicholson Hall
  • 216 Pillsbury Drive SE
  • Minneapolis MN
  • USA