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Workshop: Scientific Understanding and Representation (SURe)

5 février 2019 - 6 février 2019



Workshop description

Representations play a central role in scientists’ understanding of the world. From mathematical models to diagrams, different representations in highly varied contexts yield diverse insights across the physical, biological, and social sciences. Despite the fact that how a phenomenon is represented has far-reaching ramifications for how it is understood, the literatures on scientific understanding and scientific representation are largely independent of each other. Phenomena also admit of different representations, and some of these representations yield better understanding because they are more amenable to embedding the phenomenon into a broader theoretical framework. Yet scientists’ flexibility in how they represent phenomena is constrained by the available data, detectors, and measurement practices.
These practices indicate that there are deeper connections between scientific representation and scientific understanding to be drawn. At the most general level, how do representations provide understanding? Is the relation between representation and understanding always mediated through explanation, or the understanding could be obtained directly from representation? Why do some representations provide better understanding than others?
This workshop is the first one in a recurrent annual series that explores these connections.

The founders of the workshop series are Daniel Kostić and Kareem Khalifa. If you need any additional information, please contact either one of them at:


1 day 5th February 2019
:  Centre Broca Nouvelle-Aquitaine – ground floor, 146 rue Léo Saignat – CS 61292  33076 Bordeaux. (General Map, Tramway Line A, stop at Saint-Augustin) (Direction map)

9:45 welcome address
10:00 Tarja Knuuttila, “Model-Based Theoretical Strategy and the Artefactual Account”
10:45 Kareem Khalifa, “Understanding, Representational Success, and Epistemic Value”
11:30 Break
11:45 Daniel Kostić, “Non-causal understanding via spatially embedded networks in the brain”
12:30 Mazviita Chirimuuta, “Ideal Patterns and Non-Factive Understanding”
13:15 Lunch (catering on the site)
14:30 Mark Risjord: « Modeling Practice: Representation and Scientific Reasoning »
15:15 Mauricio Suárez, “Scientific Understanding as Minimal Representation”
16:00 break
16:15-17: Cedric Brun: « Pragmatic constraints on transferring models in interdisciplinary science: the case of neuroeconomics »
17:00 drinks at a bar
19:30 Official dinner

2 day 6th February 2019
 Maison de la recherche UBM, Salle des Thèses
Domaine universitaire Esplanade des Antilles F-33607 Pessac. (Map Tramway line B, Stop at Montaigne-Montesquieu, ) + (Direction Map)

10:00 Catherine Elgin, “Models in Understanding”
10:45 Juha Saatsi, “Explanatory Power: Modal vs. Pragmatic Dimensions”
11:30 Break
11:45 Insa Lawler, “Understanding Based on Distorted Models and Toy Models—Towards a Unified Account”
12:30 Roman Frigg, “Unlocking Limits”
13:15 Lunch (catering on the site)
14:30 Anouk Barberousse, “Simple Models in Climate Science”
15:15 Henk de Regt, “Scientific Understanding and Epistemic Values”
15:15-15:30 break
15:30 panel round table discussion/steering committee assembly
19:30 Unofficial dinner (in our own arrangements)

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Début :
5 février 2019
Fin :
6 février 2019
Catégorie d’Évènement: