Organon F

Volume 30, May 2023, Issue 2, Pages 165–170

ISSN 2585-7150 (online) ISSN 1335-0668 (print)

Discussion Note | Special issue on Author Meets Critics Symposium: Discussion on The Relevance of Models

Nowak, Models, and the Lessons of Neo-Kantianism

Stephen Turner


Models are the coin of the realm in current philosophy of science, as they are in science itself, having replaced laws and theories as the primary strategy. Logical Positivism tried to erase the older neo-Kantian distinction between ideal constructions and reality. It returns in the case of models. Nowak’s concept of idealization provided an alternative account of this issue. It construed model application as concretizations of hypotheses which improve by accounting for exceptions. This appears to account for physical law. But it raises the problem of uniqueness: is the result unique, as physical law should be? Neo-Kantianism failed this test. Its solutions were circular justifications for claims of uniqueness. Nowak inherited the problem without resolving it.


Ideal-types; idealization; Leszek Nowak; models; neo-Kantianism; Poznań School of Methodology; underdetermination.

Author(s) and affiliation(s)


Stephen Turner


University of South Florida


Department of Philosophy, University of South Florida, 4202 E Fowler Ave, Tampa, FL 33620, United States


About this article


12 December 2021


10 January 2022


Institute of Philosophy of the Slovak Academy of Sciences

Institute of Philosophy of the Czech Academy of Sciences

Cite as


Turner, S. (2023). Nowak, Models, and the Lessons of Neo-Kantianism. Organon F30(2), 165–170.


Turner, Stephen. 2023. "Nowak, Models, and the Lessons of Neo-Kantianism." Organon F 30 (2): 165–170.


Turner, S. (2023). Nowak, Models, and the Lessons of Neo-Kantianism. Organon F, 30(2), pp. 165–170.

Copyright information

© Stephen Turner

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