4  Mäki's three notions of isolation

Till Grüne-Yanoff

1 Introduction

The idea that scientific theories aim to capture a small separable aspect of real-world phenomena has a long tradition in philosophy (for example in Mill, Nowak, Cartwright, or Hausman) and in economics (for example in Menger, Senior, Cairnes, or Marshall). In current philosophy of science, few have explored this idea – in the form of the concept of isolation – so thoroughly and penetratingly as Uskali Mäki. While his notion of isolation is intricately linked with his larger realist project, it has also enjoyed a life of its own: it has been used both as a descriptive and an explanatory account of scientific theorizing, as a marker of distinction between different scientific ...

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