CFP: Synthese Special Issue “Modelling and Representation. How to make world(s) with symbols”

Submission deadline: December 31, 2016


Call for Papers

Synthese Special Issue

“Modelling and Representation. How to make world(s) with symbols”

Deadline for submission: 31st December 2016

Guest Editors:

Iñaki San Pedro (University of the Basque Country, UPV/EHU)

Andoni Ibarra (University of the Basque Country, UPV/EHU)


This Special Issue was initially conceived as the outcome publication of the main works and results presented in the Conference “Modelling and Representation. How to Make Word(s) with Symbols” (University of the Basque Country, UPV/EHU, December 2015). 

The conference aimed to contribute to the current debate on scientific representation by exploring some departures from the mainstream view on the subject. Under such a mainstream view the represented images in scientific representations are determined by reference to imposed conditions or features of a world taken as external and pre-existing with respect to the representational function itself. In contrast, the conference intended to approach the issue from a different perspective, focusing on views that take representation as performative function. Such views have its roots in the works of philosophers such as Cassirer, Carnap or Goodman in the first half of the 20th Century, who provided a fresh look into the question as to how scientific representation is to be understood. 

This Special Issue therefore shall make particular emphasis on scientific practices that put into question the most common views on scientific representation by suggesting that representation has a strong performative and constitutive character and that it involves to some extent the making of worlds. Topics discussed shall include the following: 

  • What kind of devices we make worlds through? 
  • What is the role of models in these? 
  • What is the role of instruments in such world-making procedures? 
  • Can such a constitution of worlds be said to be embodied in any sense? 
  • Are such world-making practices fundamentally different from other performative representational practices, e.g. art production practices? 
  • What are the validation and verification mechanisms for scientific world-making? 
  • How can we refer to a world (i.e. our actual world) in the pluralistic view —both methodologically as well as ontologically— suggested by performative representational practices? 
  • How should objectivity be semantically framed in such kind of world construction? 


Contributions must be original and not submitted elsewhere. Each submission should include a separate title page containing the author(s) contact details, a brief abstract and list of five keywords. All papers will be subject to double-blind peer-review. 

Manuscripts should be submitted online through the Synthese's Electronic Editorial System (Editorial Manager): 

Please choose the appropriate article type for your submission by selecting S.I. : Modeling and Representation from the relevant drop down menu. 

For further details on how to prepare the manuscripts, please follow the author guidelines available on the journal’s website: 

The deadline for submissions is December 31st,  2016.

Invited Contributors (confirmed)

Catherine Elgin (Harvard)

James Griesemer (UC Davis)

Tarja Knuuttila (Helsinki Collegium)

Thomas Mormann (UPV/EHU)

Jay Odenbaugh (Oregon)

Christopher Pincock (Ohio State)

Hans-Jörg Rheinberger (Max Planck Institute for the History of Science)

Iñaki San Pedro (UPV/EHU) and Andoni Ibarra (UPV/EHU)

Paul Teller (UC Davis)

Eric Winsberg (South Florida)

Further information

For further details or queries please contact the Special Issue’s Guest Editors: Iñaki San Pedro ( or Andoni Ibarrra (

Supporting material

Add supporting material (slides, programs, etc.)


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