Idealization within a Structuralist Perspective

Xavier de Donato Rodríguez


This is a study of the concept of idealization in terms of the structuralist view of scientific theories. In the structuralist literature, the notion of idealization has been commonly analyzed as a sort of model construction. A short overview of this is provided in the first part of the paper. The main aim of the paper is however to provide a reconstruction of Leszek Nowak’s account of idealization as a relation between structures. Other attempts at providing such an analysis are examined and compared. It will be shown that the present account amounts to considerable advantages. After a presentation of Nowak’s syntactic approach and its main problems, I will try to reconstruct his analysis in structuralist terms. Although intuitively well motivated, Nowak’s approach has some philosophical drawbacks associated to its essentialism, its syntacticism, and its counterfactual character. Our structuralist reconstruction will overcome these difficulties.

Palabras clave

idealization; Poznań approach; model construction; abstraction; counterfactuals

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EDUNTREF – Editorial de la Universidad Nacional de Tres de Febrero. Centro Cultural Borges, Viamonte esq. San Martín 3p. (C1053ABK) Ciudad de Buenos Aires, República Argentina. ISSN 1853-2330.