Leveraging Distortions

Leveraging Distortions Explanation, Idealization, and Universality in Science

Paperback (11 Aug 2021)

Not available for sale

Includes delivery to the United States

Out of stock

This service is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

Publisher's Synopsis

A fundamental rule of logic is that in order for an argument to provide good reasons for its conclusion, the premises of the argument must be true. In this book, Collin Rice shows how the practice of science repeatedly, pervasively, and deliberately violates this principle. Rice argues that scientists strategically use distortions that misrepresent relevant features of natural phenomena in order to explain and understand--and that they use these distortions deliberately and justifiably in order to discover truths that would be otherwise inaccessible. Countering the standard emphasis on causation, accurate representation, and decomposition of science into its accurate and inaccurate parts, Rice shows that science's epistemic achievements can still be factive despite their being produced through the use of holistically distorted scientific representations. Indeed, he argues, this distortion is one of the most widely employed and fruitful tools used in scientific theorising. Marshalling a range of case studies, Rice contends that many explanations in science are noncausal, and he presents an alternate view of explanation that captures the variety of noncausal explanations found across the sciences. He proposes an alternative holistic distortion view of idealised models, connecting it to physicists' concept of a universality class; shows how universality classes can overcome some of the challenges of multiscale modelling; and offers accounts of accounts of explanation, idealisation, modelling, and understanding.

Book information

ISBN: 9780262542616
Publisher: The MIT Press
Imprint: The MIT Press
Pub date:
DEWEY: 501
DEWEY edition: 23
Number of pages: xii, 353
Weight: 600g
Height: 153mm
Width: 230mm
Spine width: 27mm