The perspectival nature of scientific representation

In this paper, I go back to Bas van Fraassen’s seminal discussion of perspectivity in the context of scientific representation. I distinguish between two possible ways of locating the perspectival nature of the representation by drawing an analogy between art and science. I highlight a tension between what I call the representationalist assumption and the perspectivalist assumption and I discuss the role of indexicality in mitigating the tension. The perspectival nature of the representation challenges some deep assumptions about how scientific models represent reality; and, ultimately, it points to the need of rethinking traditional ways of asking questions about realism in science.


Massimi, M. (forthcoming). The perspectival nature of scientific representation. In C. Beisbart, Lauener Foundation volume for Bas van Fraassen. Berlin: De Gruyter