Two kinds of exploratory models

I analyse the exploratory function of two main modelling practices: targetless fictional models and hypothetical perspectival models. In both cases, I argue, modelers invite us to imagine or conceive something about the target system, which is either known to be non-existent (fictional models) or just hypothetical (in perspectival models). I clarify the kind of imagining or conceiving involved in each modelling practice, and I show how each—in its own right—delivers important modal knowledge. I illustrate these two kinds of exploratory models with Maxwell’s ether model and SUSY models at the LHC.

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Link to Edinburgh Research Explorer [research repository]: Massimi, M (forthcoming) Two kinds of exploratory models, Philosophy of Science
Image: By Maxwell (gest. 1879) – The scientific papers of James Clerk Maxwell : two vol. bound as one / ed. by W. D. Niven. – New York : Dover, 1965.- This Dover Edition, first published in 1965 is an unabridget and unaltered republ. of the work first publishes by Cambridge University Press in 1890. – p. 488 Fig. 2: Vortex Ether Model, Copyrighted free use, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=37950366