ArgLab • Book launch

Inference and Representation. A Study in Modeling Science

Mauricio Suárez

In his new book, “Inference and Representation” (UCP 2024), Mauricio Suárez develops a conception of representation that delivers a compelling account of modeling practice. He begins by discussing the history and methodology of model building, charting the emergence of what he calls the modeling attitude, a nineteenth-century and fin de siècle development. Prominent cases of models, both historical and contemporary, are used as benchmarks for the accounts of representation considered throughout the book. After arguing against reductive naturalist theories of scientific representation, Suárez sets out his own account: a case for pluralism regarding the means of representation and minimalism regarding its constituents. He shows that scientists employ a variety of modeling relations in their representational practice—which helps them to assess the accuracy of their representations—while demonstrating that there is nothing metaphysically deep about the constituent relation that encompasses all these diverse means.

The book also probes the broad implications of Suárez’s inferential conception outside scientific modeling itself, covering analogies with debates about artistic representation and philosophical thought over the past several decades.


Mauricio Suárez is professor of logic and philosophy of science at the Universidad Complutense de Madrid, a life member at Clare Hall Cambridge, and a research associate of the Centre for Philosophy of Natural and Social Science at the London School of Economics. He is the author of Philosophy of Probability and Statistical Modelling.

To join the session on Zoom and receive 30% discount voucher to buy the book, please register at this link.

This event is organised by Pietro Gori and will take place in the scope of the activities of the research project Mary B. Hesse’s “New Epistemology”. Principles and Legacy and the Lisbon Mind, Cognition and Knowledge Group.