Models And Trust: Highlighting Issues Across Science

Models, Understanding, and Trust

Roman Frigg (London School of Economics)

Models play an important role in many scientific contexts. Typically, models represent their respective target systems and are crucial in deriving predictions about the target. But models are often taken to be of more than instrumental value in that they are also seen as providing scientists with an understanding of the target. Understanding is epistemically crucial not only because it satisfies scientists’ curiosity, but also because it increases trust in the model. In what way do models do this and what sort of understanding do models provide? This is the question that the paper explores.