Inferentialism and representation: chasing factivity


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.

September 11, 2019
University of Geneva, Switzerland
Philippe Verreault-Julien
Philippe Verreault-Julien
Postdoctoral Researcher

Philosopher working on the ethics, epistemology, governance, and safety of artificial intelligence systems.