Models in Science and Engineering: Imagining, Designing and Evaluating Representations

Project description

How can one learn about particular phenomena by using models? This is the central question of the current dissertation. One brief answer is that one can learn about phenomena by using models if these models represent the phenomena. A longer answer will be presented in the individual chapters of the thesis. Answering this question involves not only (partially) explaining what representation is, but also how the notions of representation and evaluation are connected in the context of modeling. The thesis includes a fresh look at so-called similarity views on representation and a discussion of fictionalist accounts of modeling, while expanding on the general framework of indirect representation. A case study in bioengineering is used to show that the indirect view of representation must acknowledge a distinction between two directions of fit in relations between vehicles and targets. In this context the notion of design is interpreted as a relation between a vehicle and a target, thereby connecting ideas from philosophy of science with ideas from philosophy of technology. In the concluding chapters fictionalist accounts of modeling are discussed. These accounts are criticized from an epistemological point of view but the accounts’ foundational theory of make-believe is constructively applied to a case study in climate modeling.

Administrative data

Supervisor: Rafaela Hillerbrand, Peter Kroes
Advisor: N.N.
Doctoral students at ITAS: See Doctoral studies at ITAS


Dr. Michael Poznic
Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT)
Institute for Technology Assessment and Systems Analysis (ITAS)
P.O. Box 3640
76021 Karlsruhe

Tel.: +49 721 608-26127