Of Barrels and Pipes: Representation-as in Art and Science

  • Roman FriggEmail author
  • James Nguyen
Part of the The Frontiers Collection book series (FRONTCOLL)


The DEKI account of representation, which builds on Goodman and Elgin’s notion of representation-as, explicates representation in terms of denotation, exemplification, keying up, and imputation. Originally formulated as an account of scientific representation, it is here used to account for representation in the arts and to highlight the commonalities between scientific and artistic representation. Our approach is premised on the proposition that representations in art and science share essential traits. We defend this claim against the view that representation in the two domains is fundamentally different and submit that differences are ones of degree rather than kind.



We would like to thank Fiora Salis for helpful discussions and comments on an earlier draft.


  1. Ankeny, R.A., Leonelli, S.: What’s so special about model organisms? Stud. Hist. Philos. Sci. 42(2), 313–323 (2011)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Argyris, J.H., Faust, G., Haase, M.: Die Erforschung des Chaos: Eine Einführung für Naturwissenschaftler und Ingenieure. Vieweg+Teubner Verlag, Braunschweig (1994)zbMATHCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Barnsley, M.: Fractals Everywhere. Academic Press, Boston, MAGoogle Scholar
  4. Bartels, A.: Defending the structural concept of represenation. Theoria 21(1), 7–19 (2006)zbMATHGoogle Scholar
  5. Black, M.: Models and Metaphors. Studies in Language and Philosophy. Cornell University Press, Ithaca, New York (1962)Google Scholar
  6. Bokulich, A.: Explanatory fictions. In: Suárez, M. (ed.) Fictions in Science. Philosophical Essays on Modelling and Idealization, pp. 91–109. Routledge, London and New York (2009)Google Scholar
  7. Bueno, O., French, S.: How theories represent. Br. J. Philos. Sci. 62(4), 857–894 (2011)MathSciNetzbMATHCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Chakravartty, A.: The semantic or model-theoretic view of theories and scientific realism. Synthese 127(3), 325–345 (2001)MathSciNetzbMATHCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Currie, G.: Models as fictions, fictions as models. The Monist 99, 296–310 (2016)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. de Chadarevian, S.: Models and the making of molecular biology. In: de Chadarevian, S., Hopwood, N. (eds.) Models: The Third Dimension of Science. Stanford University Press, Stanford (2004)Google Scholar
  11. Denis, M.: From Gauguin and van Gogh to Neo-Classicism. In: Harrison, C., Wood, P. (eds.) Art in Theory 1900–2000, pp. 46–51. Maldon a.o, Oxford (1909/2003)Google Scholar
  12. Eco, U.: Interpretation and Overinterpretation. In: Collini, S. (ed.) Interpretation and Overinterpretation: Tanner Lectures in Human Values. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge (1992)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Eco, U.: The Limits of Interpretation (Advances in Semiotics). Indiana University Press, Indiana (1994)Google Scholar
  14. Elgin, C.Z.: With Reference to Reference. Indianapolis Hackett (1983)Google Scholar
  15. Elgin, C.Z.: Considered Judgement. Princeton University Press, Princeton (1996)Google Scholar
  16. Elgin, C.Z.: Understanding and the facts. Philos. Stud. 132(1), 33–42 (2007)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Elgin, C.Z.: Telling instances. In: Frigg, R., Hunter, M.C. (eds.) Beyond Mimesis and Convention: Representation in Art and Science, pp. 1–18. Springer, Berlin and New York (2010)Google Scholar
  18. Elgin, C.Z.: True Enough. MIT Press, Cambridge, Mass (2017)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Elkins, J.: Visual Practices Across the University. Wilhelm Fink Verlag, München (2007)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. French, S.: A model-theoretic account of representation (or, I don’t know much about Art…but I know it involves isomorphism). Philos. Sci. 70(5), 1472–1483 (2003)MathSciNetCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. French, S.: Keeping quiet on the ontology of models. Synthese 172(2), 231–249 (2010)MathSciNetCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Friend, S.: Fictional characters. Philos. Compass 2(2), 141–156 (2007)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Frigg, R., Berkovitz, J., Kronz, F.: The ergodic hierarchy. In: Zalta, E.N. (ed.) The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, Summer 2016 Edition.
  24. Frigg, R., Nguyen, J.: The fiction view of models reloaded. The Monist 99, 225–242 (2016)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Frigg, R., Nguyen, J.: Models and representation. In: Magnani, L., Bertolotti, T. (eds.) Springer Handbook of Model-Based Science, pp. 49–102. Springer, Cham (2017a)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Frigg, R., Nguyen, J.: Scientific representation is representation-as. In: Chao, H.-K., Reiss, J. (eds.) Philosophy of Science in Practice: Nancy Cartwright and the Nature of Scientific Reasoning, pp. 149–179. Springer, Cham (2017b)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Frigg, R., Nguyen, J.: The turn of the valve: representing with material models. Eur. J. Philos. Sci. 8(2), 205–224 (2018)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Giere, R.N.: How models are used to represent reality. Philos. Sci. 71(4), 742–752 (2004)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Giere, R.N.: An agent-based conception of models and scientific representation. Synthese 172(1), 269–281 (2010)MathSciNetCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Goodman, N.: Languages of Art, 2nd edn. Hackett, Indianapolis and Cambridge (1976)Google Scholar
  31. Hartmann, S.: Models as a tool for theory construction: some strategies of preliminary physics. In: Herfel, W.E., Krajewski, W., Niiniluoto, I., Wojcicki, R. (eds.) Theories and Models in Scientific Processes (Poznan Studies in the Philosophy of Science and the Humanities 44), pp. 49–67. Rodopi, Amsterdam and Atlanta (1995)Google Scholar
  32. Hofbauer, J., Sigmund, K.: Evolutionary Games and Population Dynamics. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge (1998)zbMATHCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Kennedy, A.G.: A non representationalist view of model explanation. Stud. Hist. Philos. Sci. 43(2), 326–332 (2012)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Knuuttila, T.: Models as Epistemic Artefacts: Toward a Non-representationalist Account of Scientific Representation: PhD. University of Helsinki (2005)Google Scholar
  35. Knuuttila, T.: Modelling and representing: An artefactual approach to model-based representation. Stud. Hist. Philos. Sci. 42(2), 262–271 (2011)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Kulvicki, J.: Pictorial representation. Philosophy Compass 1(6), 535–546 (2006)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Leggett, D.: Replication, re-placing and naval science in comparative context, c. 1868–1904. Br. J. Hist. Sci. 46(1), 1–21 (2013)Google Scholar
  38. Lopes, D.: Understanding Pictures. Oxford University Press, Oxford (2004)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Mandelbrot, B.B.: The Fractal Geometry of Nature. W.H.Freeman & Co Ltd, San Francisco (1982)zbMATHGoogle Scholar
  40. Peschard, I.: Making sense of modeling: beyond representation European Journal for. Philos. Sci. 1(3), 335–352 (2011)Google Scholar
  41. Putnam, H.: Reason, Truth, and History. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge (1981)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Salis, F.: Fictional entities. In: Branquinho, J., Santos, R. (eds.) Online Companion to Problems in Analytical Philosophy (2013)Google Scholar
  43. Salis, F., Frigg, R.: Capturing the scientific imagination. In: Godfrey-Smith, P., Levy, A. (eds.) The Scientific Imagination. Oxford University Press, New York (forthcoming)Google Scholar
  44. Smith, L.A.: Chaos: A Very Short Introduction. Oxford University Press, Oxford (2007)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Sterratt, D., Graham, B., Gilles, A., Willshaw, D.: Principles of Computational Modelling in Neuroscience. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge (2011)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Sterrett, S.G.: Physical Models and Fundamental Laws: Using One Piece of the World to Tell about Another. Mind Soc. 5(3), 51–66 (2002)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Suárez, M.: Scientific representation: against similarity and isomorphism. Int. Stud. Philos. Sci. 17(3), 225–244 (2003)MathSciNetCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Toon, A.: Playing with molecules. Stud. Hist. Philos. Sci. 42, 580–589 (2011)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. van Fraassen, B.C.: The Scientific Image. Oxford University Press, Oxford (1980)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. van Fraassen, B.C.: Scientific Representation: Paradoxes of Perspective. Oxford University Press, Oxford (2008)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. Vorms, M.: Representing with imaginary models: formats matter. Stud. Hist. Philos. Sci. 42(2), 287–295 (2011)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. Webb, B.: Can robots make good models of biological behaviour? Behav. Brain Sci. 24(6), 1033–1050 (2001)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  53. Weisberg, M.: Simulation and Similarity: Using Models to Understand the World. Oxford University Press, Oxford (2013)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  54. Werndl, C., Frigg, R.: Reconceptualising equilibrium in Boltzmannian statistical mechanics and characterising its existence. Stud. Hist. Philos. Mod. Phys. 49, 19–31 (2015)MathSciNetzbMATHCrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Philosophy, Logic and Scientific MethodSchool of Economics and Political Science LondonLondonUK
  2. 2.Institute of Philosophy, School of Advanced Study, University of LondonLondonUK
  3. 3.Department of PhilosophyUniversity College LondonLondonUK
  4. 4.Centre for Philosophy of Natural and Social ScienceLondon School of Economics and Political ScienceLondonUK

Personalised recommendations