Date of Award

May 2022

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts



First Advisor

Joshua Spencer

Committee Members

Peter van Elswyk, William Penn


Contemporary philosophers of science have been wholly concerned with understand- ing models through their ability to represent their target systems. According to these ‘representationalists’ understanding how models represent will answer the foremost philosophical questions pertaining to scientific models. I propose a new way to think about models. I argue that two of the functions that models preform, explanation and exploration of their target systems, are codependent on one another. That is, a model is capable of explanation if, only if, and because it is capable of exploration (and vice versa). From this codependency, it follows that we need not (and cannot) understand these two functions—and, a fortiori, fully understand models simpliciter—in terms of representation. I conclude by outlining a new research program pertaining to models that asks about these non-representational functions and analyze them in such terms.

Available for download on Tuesday, May 16, 2023