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What does quantum chemistry tell us about the relationship between theories and models?According to a traditional, theory-driven conception, models are only tools designed to apply the theory to specific situations. Nevertheless, the analysis of certain phenomenological models leads some authors to an instrumentalist view of theories and models. The discussions between the two views arrived to a dead end because those models, although phenomenological, were later subsumed under a theory. It is in this point that certain models coming from quantum chemistry may provide a breath of fresh air to a bogged-down discussion: we will argue that they support an instrumentalist and non-representationalist view of scientific models.
Juan Camilo Martínez
Consejo Nacional de Investigaciones Científicas y Técnicas (CONICET)
Facultad de Filosofía y Letras
Universidad de Buenos Aires