TINT Workshop "What to Make of Highly Unrealistic Models"

  • Aydinonat, N. E. (Member of organizing committee)
  • Mäki, I. U. (Member of organizing committee)
  • Till Grüne-Yanoff (Member of organizing committee)

Activity: Participating in or organising an event typesOrganisation and participation in conferences, workshops, courses, seminars


Complex phenomena often require complex explanations. In simple cases, a single model can explain a phenomenon by identifying its causes. But to fully explain a complex phenomenon, we often require systems of models: complex events may have multiple causes, which can only be captured by an array of models. In this workshop, we shall consider the question of how to combine and use models that differ from each other along multiple lines, for instance, in the way they represent a phenomenon, the variables they include, or even the target systems they refer to.

In the modelling debate, the philosophy of science has until now mainly focused on the relation between a particular model (e.g. the Schelling model or the Lotka-Volterra model) and its target system; only recently increasing interest has been directed to cases where we have multiple models of a certain phenomenon. Several questions arise from this, both theoretical and methodological: how can we make sense of a specific entity or phenomenon in spite of the multiplicity of models that describe it? How can scientists actually work with sets of models that are either complementary, or inconsistent, or even not clearly comparable with each other?

The aim of the workshop is to focus on the epistemic value of using multiple models and the conditions that allow scientists to compare, expand and merge different models, so as to combine the knowledge claims we derive from them and obtain new ones. To this purpose, we aim at bringing together social scientists and philosophers interested in multiple models and their use in scientific practice.
Period12 Oct 201713 Oct 2017
Event typeWorkshop
LocationHelsinki, FinlandShow on map
Degree of RecognitionInternational