Structural Representation and the Ontology of Models

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


This chapter introduces a structural account of representation through partial structures and examines its ontological commitments. It is pointed out that structural approaches to scientific representation emphasize the crucial role played by structures in representing salient features of the world. It is common to present and, in some cases, even to reify such structures as abstract entities, in particular as set-theoretic constructs. Against this view, it is argued that no such reification is called for and that several strategies can be articulated to avoid commitment to set-theoretic structures in the defense of structural representation. In the end, one can favor the latter without being platonist about the former.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationLogic, Epistemology, and the Unity of Science
PublisherSpringer Science and Business Media B.V.
Number of pages18
StatePublished - 2021

Publication series

NameLogic, Epistemology, and the Unity of Science
ISSN (Print)2214-9775
ISSN (Electronic)2214-9783


  • Models
  • Ontology
  • Partial structures
  • Representation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • History and Philosophy of Science
  • History
  • Philosophy


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