Models as Epistemic Tools in Engineering Sciences

Mieke Boon*, Tarja Knuuttila

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterAcademicpeer-review

56 Citations (Scopus)


This chapter focuses on scientific models in engineering as epistemic tools for creating or optimizing concrete devices or materials. From this pragmatist and functional perspective, scientific models appear as things that are used by scientists to do some work, in other words, to fulfill some purposes. Consequently, one approaches modeling as a specific scientific practice in which concrete entities, i.e. models, are constructed with the help of specific representational means and used in various ways for the purposes of scientific reasoning, theory construction and design of other artifacts and instruments. The key to the epistemic value of models does not lie in their being accurate representations of some real target systems but rather in their independent systemic construction that enables scientists to draw inferences and reason through constructing models and manipulating them. Although this way of looking at models makes sense especially in the context of engineering sciences because of their intervening and constructive character. © 2009

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationPhilosophy of Technology and Engineering Sciences
Number of pages34
ISBN (Print)9780444516671
Publication statusPublished - 2009


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