Roman Frigg

Roman Frigg
The London School of Economics and Political Science | LSE · Department of Philosophy, Logic and Scientific Method

PhD in Philosophy

About

132
Publications
21,739
Reads
How we measure 'reads'
A 'read' is counted each time someone views a publication summary (such as the title, abstract, and list of authors), clicks on a figure, or views or downloads the full-text. Learn more
2,809
Citations
Introduction
Roman Frigg currently works at the Department of Philosophy, Logic and Scientific Method, The London School of Economics and Political Science. Roman does research in Philosophy of Science. His publications are available from his website at romanfrigg.org.
Additional affiliations
January 2014 - December 2015
The London School of Economics and Political Science
Position
  • Professor of Philosophy and Director of CPNSS
January 2014 - December 2015
The London School of Economics and Political Science
Position
  • For full-text versions of publications visit www.romanfrigg.org

Publications

Publications (132)
Article
Full-text available
In recent publications we have drawn attention to the fact that if the dynamics of a model is structurally unstable, then the presence of structural model error places in-principle limits on the model’s ability to generate decision-relevant probability forecasts. Writing with a varying array of co-authors, Eric Winsberg has now produced at least fo...
Article
Full-text available
This paper presents an in-depth analysis of the anatomy of both ther-modynamics and statistical mechanics, together with the relationships between their constituent parts. Based on this analysis, using the renormalization group and finite-size scaling, we give a definition of a large but finite system and argue that phase transitions are represente...
Preprint
This paper presents an in-depth analysis of the anatomy of both thermodynamics and statistical mechanics, together with the relationships between their constituent parts. Based on this analysis, using the renormalization group and finite-size scaling, we give a definition of a large but finite system and argue that phase transitions are represented...
Chapter
Roman Frigg and James Nguyen present a detailed statement and defense of the fiction view of scientific models, according to which they are akin to the characters and places of literary fiction. They argue that while some of the criticisms this view has attracted raise legitimate points, others are myths. In this chapter, they first identify and th...
Article
Full-text available
Veritism, the position that truth is necessary for epistemic acceptability, seems to be in tension with the observation that much of our best science is not, strictly speaking, true when interpreted literally. This generates a paradox: (i) truth is necessary for epistemic acceptability; (ii) the claims of science have to be taken literally; (iii) m...
Chapter
The relation between the Boltzmannian and the Gibbsian formulations of statistical mechanics is one of the major conceptual issues in the foundations of the discipline. In their celebrated review of statistical mechanics, Paul Ehrenfest and Tatiana Ehrenfest-Afanassjewa discuss this issue and offer an argument for the conclusion that Boltzmannian e...
Article
Many policy decisions take input from collections of scientific models. Such decisions face significant and often poorly understood uncertainty. We rework the so-called “confidence approach” to tackle decision-making under severe uncertainty with multiple models, and illustrate the approach with a case study: insurance pricing using hurricane model...
Article
In a series of recent papers we have developed what we call the DEKI account of scientific representation, according to which models represent their targets via keys. These keys provide a systematic way to move from model-features to features to be imputed to their targets. We show how keys allow for accurate representation in the presence of ideal...
Chapter
We now address the issues faced by Representation-As and develop it into a full-fledged account of epistemic representation. The result of this endeavour is what we call the DEKI account, where the acronym is formed from the names of the account’s defining features: denotation, exemplification, keying-up, and imputation. In this chapter we introduc...
Chapter
In its most basic guise, the similarity view of representation says that something represents something else by being similar to it. A photograph represents its subject matter by being similar to it; a statue represents its object by being similar to it; and a painting represents by being similar to what it portrays. In the context of a discussion...
Chapter
In the previous chapter we developed the DEKI account of epistemic representation against the backdrop of a material carrier. We begin this chapter by exploring how it applies to carriers that are non-material and how it answers the Applicability of Mathematics Condition. We then further investigate the nature of keys by discussing an important cla...
Chapter
Scientific modelling involves a creative act of the imagination. This, and the fact that at least parts of the content of what is imagined deviates from reality, motivates a family of approaches that analyse modelling and representation by drawing analogies with literary fiction. We begin by outlining the guiding intuitions behind the fiction view...
Chapter
General Griceanism is the radical proposal that all types of representation can be explained in a unified way as deriving from a more fundamental kind of representations, namely mental states. The view thus holds that there is no problem of scientific representation, or of any other form of epistemic representation like images, diagrams, or graphs....
Chapter
In this chapter we discuss accounts of scientific representation that analyse representation in terms of the inferential role that models play in scientific investigations. According to the accounts discussed earlier, a model’s inferential capacity – its capacity to ground surrogative reasoning – dropped out of an analysis of epistemic representati...
Chapter
In this chapter we discuss approaches that depart from Goodman’s notion of “representation-as”, which is based on the notion that both works of art and scientific representations represent their subject matters as being thus or so. The chapter begins with a discussion of the demarcation problems in the context of representation-as, and then explore...
Chapter
The structuralist view of scientific representation originated in the so-called semantic view of theories, which came to prominence in the second half of the twentieth century. Many defenders of the semantic view of theories take models to be structures, which represent their target systems in virtue of there being some kind of mapping (isomorphism...
Chapter
What questions does a philosophical account of scientific representation have to answer and what conditions do these answers have to satisfy? Different authors have focussed on different issues and framed the problem in different ways. There is neither a shared understanding of the problems that an account of scientific representation has to addres...
Article
This paper aims to shed light on the relation between Boltzmannian statistical mechanics and Gibbsian statistical mechanics by studying the Mechanical Averaging Principle, which says that, under certain conditions, Boltzmannian equilibrium values and Gibbsian phase averages are approximately equal. What are these conditions? We identify three condi...
Chapter
Many models function representationally. Considerable differences notwithstanding, most accounts of representation involve the notion that models denote their targets. Denotation is a dyadic relation that obtains between certain symbols and certain objects. This does not sit well with the fact that many models are not concrete objects. If a model d...
Chapter
According to the fiction view of models, scientific models are akin to places and characters in literary fiction. The chapter introduces this view and develops a specific version of the view based on the pretense account of fiction. It then turns to the question of how models represent their targets and formulates an account of representation based...
Chapter
What sort of imagination is involved in scientific models and thought experiments? This chapter develops a unifying taxonomy of the different kinds of imagination discussed in aesthetics and philosophy of mind. A crucial distinction is between objectual imagination (imagining an object) and propositional imagination (imagining-that). We characteriz...
Article
(Link: https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/models-science/) Models are of central importance in many scientific contexts. The centrality of models such as inflationary models in cosmology, general-circulation models of the global climate, the double-helix model of DNA, evolutionary models in biology, agent-based models in the social sciences, and g...
Article
This monograph offers a critical introduction to current theories of how scientific models represent their target systems. Representation is important because it allows scientists to study a model to discover features of reality. The authors provide a map of the conceptual landscape surrounding the issue of scientific representation, arguing that i...
Chapter
The DEKI account of representation, which builds on Goodman and Elgin’s notion of representation-as, explicates representation in terms of denotation, exemplification, keying up, and imputation. Originally formulated as an account of scientific representation, it is here used to account for representation in the arts and to highlight the commonalit...
Article
There are two theoretical approaches in statistical mechanics, one associated with Boltzmann and the other with Gibbs. The theoretical apparatus of the two approaches offer distinct descriptions of the same physical system with no obvious way to translate the concepts of one formalism into those of the other. This raises the question of the status...
Article
Gibbsian statistical mechanics (GSM) is the most widely used version of statistical mechanics among working physicists. Yet a closer look at GSM reveals that it is unclear what the theory actually says and how it bears on experimental practice. The root cause of the difficulties is the status of the Averaging Principle, the proposition that what we...
Preprint
Gibbsian statistical mechanics (GSM) is the most widely used version of statistical mechanics among working physicists. Yet a closer look at GSM reveals that it is unclear what the theory actually says and how it bears on experimental practice. The root cause of the difficulties is the status of the Averaging Principle, the proposition that what we...
Chapter
Nancy Cartwright’s work has been influential in establishing the now widely accepted view that scientific models are the primary representational units of science. This view brings with it the question of scientific representation: in virtue of what do scientific models represent parts, or aspects, of the world (their ‘target systems’). In this pap...
Article
Full-text available
There are two main theoretical frameworks in statistical mechanics, one associated with Boltzmann and the other with Gibbs. Despite their well-known differences, there is a prevailing view that equilibrium values calculated in both frameworks coincide. We show that this is wrong. There are important cases where the Boltzmannian and Gibbsian equilib...
Article
Full-text available
Many scientific models are representations. Building on Goodman and Elgin’s notion of representation-as we analyse what this claim involves by providing a general definition of what makes something a scientific model, and formulating a novel account of how they represent. We call the result the DEKI account of representation, which offers a complex...
Article
How does mathematics apply to something non-mathematical? We distinguish between a general application problem and a special application problem. A critical examination of the answer that structural mapping accounts offer to the former problem leads us to identify a lacuna in these accounts: they have to presuppose that target systems are structure...
Chapter
Full-text available
Equilibrium is a central concept of statistical mechanics. In previous work we introduced the notions of a Boltzmannian α-ɛ-equilibrium and a Boltzmannian γ-ɛ-equilibrium (Werndl and Frigg, Stud Hist Philos Mod Phys 44:470–479, 2015a; Philos Sci 82:1224–1235, 2015b). This was done in a deterministic context. We now consider systems with a stochasti...
Chapter
Models are of central importance in many scientific contexts. We study models and thereby discover features of the phenomena they stand for. For this to be possible models must be representations: they can instruct us about the nature of reality only if they represent the selected parts or aspects of the world we investigate. This raises an importa...
Article
Climate change adaptation is largely a local matter, and adaptation planning can benefit from local climate change projections. Such projections are typically generated by accepting climate model outputs in a relatively uncritical way. We argue, based on the IPCC’s treatment of model outputs from the CMIP5 ensemble, that this approach is unwarrante...
Conference Paper
Climate change adaptation is largely a local matter, and adaptation planning can benefit from local climate change projections. Such projections are typically generated by accepting climate model outputs in a relatively uncritical way. We argue, based on the IPCC's treatment of model outputs from the CMIP5 ensemble, that this approach is unwarrante...
Article
Background Pedobarography offers dynamic information about the foot, but the interpretation of its large data is challenging. In a prior study it was shown that attention can be restricted to pedobarographic midfoot load data. We aim to verify this observation in ankle osteoarthritic and contralateral feet. Methods We assessed both feet of 120 pati...
Article
Full-text available
Background Pedobarography offers dynamic information about the foot, but the interpretation of its large data is challenging. In a prior study it was shown that attention can be restricted to pedobarographic midfoot load data. We aim to verify this observation in ankle osteoarthritic and contralateral feet. Methods We assessed both feet of 120 pati...
Article
Full-text available
Equilibrium is a central concept of statistical mechanics. In previous work we introduced the notions of a Boltzmannian alpha-epsilon-equilibrium and a Boltzmannian gamma-epsilon-equilibrium (Werndl and Frigg 2015a, 2015b). This was done in a deterministic context. We now consider systems with a stochastic micro-dynamics and transfer these notions...
Article
In this paper we explore the constraints that our preferred account of scientific representation places on the ontology of scientific models. Pace the Direct Representation view associated with Arnon Levy and Adam Toon we argue that scientific models should be thought of as imagined systems, and clarify the relationship between imagination and repr...
Article
Full-text available
The received wisdom in statistical mechanics is that isolated systems, when left to themselves, approach equilibrium. But under what circumstances does an equilibrium state exist and an approach to equilibrium take place? In this paper we address these questions from the vantage point of the long-run fraction of time definition of Boltzmannian equi...
Article
Gait analysis after total ankle replacement and ankle arthrodesis is usually measured barefoot. However, this does not reflect reality. The purpose of this study was to compare patients barefoot and with footwear. Methods: We compared 126 patients (total ankle replacement 28, ankle arthrodesis 57, and tibiotalocalcaneal arthrodesis 41) with 35 hea...
Book
Science provides us with representations of atoms, elementary particles, polymers, populations, genetic trees, economies, rational decisions, aeroplanes, earthquakes, forest fires, irrigation systems, and the world?s climate. It's through these representations that we learn about the world. This entry explores various different accounts of scientif...
Article
Full-text available
This is the second of three parts of an introduction to the philosophy of climate science. In this second part about modelling climate change, the topics of climate modelling, confirmation of climate models, the limits of climate projections, uncertainty and finally model ensembles will be discussed.
Article
This is the first of three parts of an introduction to the philosophy of climate science. In this first part about observing climate change, the topics of definitions of climate and climate change, data sets and data models, detection of climate change, and attribution of climate change will be discussed.
Article
Full-text available
Boltzmannian statistical mechanics partitions the phase space into macro- regions, and the largest of these is identified with equilibrium. What justifies this identification? Common answers focus on Boltzmann's combinatorial argument, the Maxwell-Boltzmann distribution, and maximum entropy considerations. We argue that they fail and present a new...
Article
Full-text available
The United Kingdom Climate Impacts Programme’s UKCP09 project makes high-resolution projections of the climate out to 2100 by post-processing the outputs of a large-scale global climate model. The aim of this paper is to describe and analyse the methodology used and then urge some caution. Given the acknowledged systematic, shared errors of all cur...
Article
Full-text available
In Boltzmannian statistical mechanics macro-states supervene on micro-states. This leads to a partitioning of the state space of a system into regions of macroscopically indistinguishable micro-states. The largest of these regions is singled out as the equilibrium region of the system. What justifies this association? We review currently available...
Article
Full-text available
The sensitive dependence on initial conditions (SDIC) associated with nonlinear models imposes limitations on the models’ predictive power. We draw attention to an additional limitation than has been under-appreciated, namely structural model error (SME). A model has SME if the model-dynamics differ from the dynamics in the target system. If a nonl...
Article
Determinism and chance seem to be irreconcilable opposites: either something is chancy or it is deterministic but not both. Yet there are processes which appear to square the circle by being chancy and deterministic at once, and the appearance is backed by well-confirmed scientific theories such as statistical mechanics which also seem to provide u...
Article
The United Kingdom Climate Impacts Program’s UKCP09 project makes high-resolution forecasts of climate during the twenty-first century using state of the art global climate models. The aim of this article is to introduce and analyze the methodology used and then urge some caution. Given the acknowledged systematic errors in all current climate mode...
Article
Full-text available
Classical statistical mechanics posits probabilities for various events to occur, and these probabilities seem to be objective chances. This does not seem to sit well with the fact that the theory’s time evolution is deterministic. We argue that the tension between the two is only apparent. We present a theory of Humean objective chance and show th...
Article
Full-text available
Why do gases reach equilibrium when left to themselves? The canonical answer, originally proffered by Boltzmann, is that the systems have to be ergodic. This answer is now widely regarded as flawed. We argue that some of the main objections, in particular, arguments based on the KAM-theorem and the Markus-Meyer theorem, are beside the point. We the...
Book
This volume is a serious attempt to open up the subject of European philosophy of science to real thought, and provide the structural basis for the interdisciplinary development of its specialist fields, but also to provoke reflection on the idea of ‘European philosophy of science’. This efforts should foster a contemporaneous reflection on what mi...
Article
Anthropologist Arjun Appadurai has coined the phrase ‘methodological fetishism’ to denote tactics of thinking with objects.[1] Fetishisms tend to attract a following, and methodological fetishism is no exception. Mexican textiles, unbreakable glasses, folding screens, Victorian tapestries, telescopic micrometers and stilettos strung together to for...
Article
Full-text available
A gas prepared in a nonequilibrium state will approach equilibrium and stay there. An influential contemporary approach to statistical mechanics explains this behavior in terms of typicality. However, this explanation has been criticized as mysterious as long as no connection with the dynamics of the system is established. We take this criticism as...
Article
Full-text available
Consider a gas confined to the left half of a container. Then remove the wall separating the two parts. The gas will start spreading and soon be evenly distributed over the entire available space. The gas has approached equilibrium. Why does the gas behave in this way? The canonical answer to this question, originally proffered by Boltzmann, is tha...
Article
Full-text available
Thermodynamics describes a large class of phenomena we observe in macroscopic systems. The aim of statistical mechanics is to account for this behaviour in terms of the dynamical laws governing the microscopic constituents of macroscopic systems and probabilistic assumptions. This article provides a survey of the discussion about the foundation of...
Article
Full-text available
Zaidel's book is widely considered to be a landmark piece the field, and for this reason it deserves careful consideration. Her approach to the neuropsychology of art combines neurological, evolutionary and cognitive perspectiv es. One aspect of this programme is the study of brain damage in established artists: the r elationship between art and ce...
Article
Full-text available
Why do systems prepared in a non-equilibrium state approach, and eventually reach, equilibrium? An important contemporary version of the Boltzmannian approach to statistical mechanics answers this question by an appeal to the notion of typicality. The problem with this approach is that it comes in different versions, which are, however, not recogni...
Article
Synthese 180:1 (2011). Special issue ed. with Roman Frigg and Cyrille Imbert. With contributions by Alisa Bokulich, Uskali Mäki, Christopher Pincock, Stathis Psillos, and Jan Sprenger. Link: http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s11229-009-9562-4
Article
Full-text available
A structuralist perspective is one that sees the investigation of the structural features of a domain of interest as the primary goal of enquiry. This vision has shaped research programmes in fields as diverse as linguistics, literary criticism, aesthetics, sociology, anthropology, psychology, and various branches of philosophy. The focus of this p...
Article
Full-text available
Computer simulations are an exciting tool that plays important roles in many scientific disciplines. This has attracted the attention of a number of philosophers of science. The main tenor in this literature is that computer simulations not only constitute interesting and powerful new science, but that they also raise a host of new philosophical is...
Book
Full-text available
The so-called ergodic hierarchy (EH) is a central part of ergodic theory. It is a hierarchy of properties that dynamical systems can possess. Its five levels are egrodicity, weak mixing, strong mixing, Kolomogorov, and Bernoulli. Although EH is a mathematical theory, its concepts have been widely used in the foundations of statistical physics, acco...
Article
Full-text available
Various scientific theories stand in a reductive relation to each other. In a recent article, we have argued that a generalized version of the Nagel-Schaffner model (GNS) is the right account of this relation. In this article, we present a Bayesian analysis of how GNS impacts on confirmation. We formalize the relation between the reducing and the r...
Article
Full-text available
Most scientific models are not physical objects, and this raises important questions. What sort of entity are models, what is truth in a model, and how do we learn about models? In this paper I argue that models share important aspects in common with literary fiction, and that therefore theories of fiction can be brought to bear on these questions....
Article
Full-text available
We reconsider the Nagelian theory of reduction and argue that, contrary to a widely held view, it is the right analysis of intertheoretic reduction, since the alleged difficulties of the theory either vanish upon closer inspection or turn out to be substantive philosophical questions rather than knock-down arguments.
Article
Full-text available
Entropy is ubiquitous in physics, and it plays important roles in numerous other disciplines ranging from logic and statistics to biology and economics. However, a closer look reveals a complicated picture: entropy is defined differently in different contexts, and even within the same domain different notions of entropy are at work. Some of these a...
Article
Full-text available
Understanding scientific modelling can be divided into two sub-projects: analysing what model-systems are, and understanding how they are used to represent something beyond themselves. The first is a prerequisite for the second: we can only start analysing how representation works once we understand the intrinsic character of the vehicle that does...
Article
Full-text available
On the face of it ‘deterministic chance’ is an oxymoron: either a process is chancy or deterministic, but not both. Nevertheless, the world is rife with processes that seem to be exactly that: chancy and deterministic at once. Simple gambling devices like coins and dice are cases in point.2 On the one hand they are governed by deterministic laws –...
Book
Representation is a concern crucial to the sciences and the arts alike. Scientists devote substantial time to devising and exploring representations of all kinds. From photographs and computer-generated images to diagrams, charts, and graphs; from scale models to abstract theories, representations are ubiquitous in, and central to, science. Likewis...
Article
Full-text available
An important contemporary version of Boltzmannian statistical mechanics explains the approach to equilibrium in terms of typicality. The problem with this approach is that it comes in different versions, which are, however, not recognized as such and not clearly distinguished. This article identifies three different versions of typicality‐based exp...
Article
Review of Stathis Psillos and Martin Curd (eds), The Routledge Companion to Philosophy of Science, London: Routledge, 2008. Pp. xxvii + 619.
Article
Full-text available
1. Introducción El primer paso para acometer un problema científico a menudo es presentarse con un modelo apropiado. Cuando estudiamos la órbita de un planeta, tomamos al planeta y al sol como si fueran ambos esferas perfectas que gira n con distribuciones homogéneas de masa gravitacionalmente interactuando el uno con el otro sin nada más en el uni...