Factive inferentialism and the puzzle of model-based explanation


Highly idealized models may serve various epistemic functions, notably explanation, in virtue of representing the world. Inferentialism provides a prima facie compelling characterization of what constitutes the representation relation. In this paper, I argue that what I call factive inferentialism does not provide a satisfactory solution to the puzzle of model-based — factive — explanation. In particular, I show that making explanatory counterfactual inferences is not a sufficient guide for accurate representation, factivity, or realism. I conclude by calling for a more explicit specification of model-world mismatches and properties imputation.


Forthcoming in Synthese.

Philippe Verreault-Julien
Philippe Verreault-Julien
Postdoctoral Researcher

I work on the epistemology of modelling, understanding, and explanation.