Inferentialism and representation: chasing factivity

Abstract

In this paper, I argue that two brands of inferentialism (Suárez 2004; Suárez 2015) and what I call the factive inferentialist account of representation (Kuorikoski and Ylikoski 2015) do not provide satisfactory criteria with respect to what makes a scientific representation explanatory in the context of modelling. First, I show that Suárez’s brand of inferentialism is silent with respect to how models can offer factive explanations. I then argue that because of an ambiguous notion of inferential ‘correctness’, FInfR can’t distinguish merely phenomenological from explanatory representation. I conclude by presenting a dilemma the inferentialist faces: either they double down on deflationism or they substantiate their position. I believe the latter is the best course of action.

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University of Geneva, Switzerland
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Philippe Verreault-Julien

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