Departmental Papers (Philosophy)

Document Type

Journal Article

Date of this Version

12-2004

Publication Source

Philosophy of Science

Volume

71

Issue

5

Start Page

1071

Last Page

1081

DOI

10.1086/428011

Abstract

Roald Hoffmann and other theorists claim that we ought to use highly idealized chemical models (“qualitative models”) in order to increase our understanding of chemical phenomena, even though other models are available which make more highly accurate predictions. I assess this norm by examining one of the tradeoffs faced by model builders and model users—the tradeoff between precision and generality. After arguing that this tradeoff obtains in many cases, I discuss how the existence of this tradeoff can help us defend Hoffmann’s norm for modelling.

Copyright/Permission Statement

© 2004 by Philosophy of Science Association.

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Date Posted: 04 December 2017

This document has been peer reviewed.