A number of philosophers draw a close analogy between scientific modeling and fiction, often appealing to Kendall Walton’s make-believe view. I assess the models-fictions analogy from a cognitive angle, suggesting that from this perspective it appears relatively weak. More specifically, I argue that, on the one hand, the appeal to Walton is appropriate inasmuch as his view fits well with how modelers employ the imagination. On the other hand, what makes Walton’s view attractive as an account of the cognitive aspects of modeling makes it less attractive as an account of fiction.
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For oral discussion of previous versions of this article, I am grateful to Elijah Milgram, Roman Frigg, and audiences at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, the University of Bern, and PSA 2018. My students Aya Evron, Topaz Halperin, Jonathan Najenson, and Nadav Rubinstein gave valuable comments on a draft. Special thanks are owed to Ori Kinberg, for thinking with me about fiction for the past 2 years.
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