The New Fictionalism on Scientific Models and a Hybrid View

Abstract: In this talk I argue against a new brand of fictionalism on scientific models.  It regards all models, which are naturally conceived as abstract entities, as fictional entities.  The new fictionalists rely crucially on the apparent ontological and functional similarities between characters and events in literary fiction and models in science. They further claim that their position is compatible with scientific realism (which is taken as an endorsement). I criticize these fictionalists on the ground that they have misconceived the conceptual structure of scientific models. I argue for a hybrid view of modeling, which, inter alia, shows that the new fictionalists misunderstood the fact that the functions of reference and display are separately played by two distinct elements in the models.