Models as artefacts of a dual nature: a philosophical contribution to teaching about models designed and used in engineering practice

M.M. Ghaemi Nia, Marc J. de Vries

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Although ‘models’ play a significant role in engineering activities, not much has yet been developed to enhance the technological literacy of students in this regard. This contribution intends to help fill this gap and deliver a comprehensive account as to the nature and various properties of these engineering tools. It begins by inspecting two well-known cases: the long-term policy documents of technological literacy in the USA and in New Zealand. This will help to clarify the approach of these educational documents to models, provide a primary understanding of their existing drawbacks in this relation, and realize the necessity of underpinning a well-organized account that can be used in teaching about models. Next, the discussion moves toward an attempt to develop a sound description of the nature of models. This is accomplished through an extensive review of the viewpoints of philosophers (of science and technology) about the nature and properties of these tools; models will then be argued and suggested for consideration as techno-scientific artefacts with their own dual nature: the intrinsic and the intentional. Such an account paves the way to the next step, which namely attempts to provide a well-ordered framework of the models’ various properties, through taking up those two natures and their interrelation in detail. The paper concludes by showing some initial advantages of applying the suggested approach to the intended cases, which can hopefully lead to further, more detailed inspections and extended contributions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-27
Number of pages27
JournalInternational Journal of Technology and Design Education
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 14 Mar 2016

Keywords

  • Artefactual nature of models
  • Dual nature of models
  • Intentional nature of models
  • Intrinsic nature of models
  • Technological literacy

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