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Approximation and idealization: Why the difference matters

Norton, JD (2012) Approximation and idealization: Why the difference matters. Philosophy of Science, 79 (2). 207 - 232. ISSN 0031-8248

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It is proposed that we use the term "approximation" for inexact description of a target system and "idealization" for another system whose properties also provide an inexact description of the target system. Since systems generated by a limiting process can often have quite unexpected-even inconsistent-properties, familiar limit processes used in statistical physics can fail to provide idealizations but merely provide approximations. © 2012 by the Philosophy of Science Association.


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Item Type: Article
Status: Published
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Norton, JDjdnorton@pitt.eduJDNORTON
Centers: University Centers > Center for Philosophy of Science
Date: 1 April 2012
Date Type: Publication
Access Restriction: No restriction; Release the ETD for access worldwide immediately.
Journal or Publication Title: Philosophy of Science
Volume: 79
Number: 2
Page Range: 207 - 232
DOI or Unique Handle: 10.1086/664746
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences > History and Philosophy of Science
Refereed: Yes
ISSN: 0031-8248
Date Deposited: 12 Jul 2012 14:30
Last Modified: 02 Feb 2019 15:56


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