Bild Workshop

Metaphysics as Modeling

Contemporary and Kantian Issues

Trier University, Germany
October 7.-8. 2021


Katherine Brading
Brigitte Falkenburg
Axel Gelfert
David Hommen/Kristina Engelhard
Michela Massimi
Sigfried Jaag/Markus Schrenk
James O'Shea
Laurie Ann Paul
Lorenzo Spagnesi

The use of models such as the Lotka-Volterra model for predator/prey-population-dynamics or the billiard ball model of gases have proven to be tremendously useful in the natural sciences. Here, we adopt the minimal working assumption that a “model is an imagined or hypothetical structure that we describe and investigate in the hope of using it to understand some more complex, real- world ‘target’ system or domain” (Godfrey-Smith 2006a, 6).

Recently, philosophers have suggested that applying models in metaphysics is also a legitimate, beneficial and necessary enterprise (Godfrey-Smith 2006a, 2012; Nolan 2005; Paul 2012; Brading manuscript for a critique). As examples for models in metaphysics have been given: Humean supervenience and Armstrong’s anti-Humeanism (Godfrey-Smith 2006a, 16) or the neuron diagrams in theories of causation (Paul 2012, 14), etc.

Organizers: Kristina Engelhard (Trier), David Hommen (Trier), Siegfried Jaag (Düsseldorf), Markus Schrenk (Düsseldorf)

The workshop takes place as part of the research group “Inductive Metaphysics” (, funded by DFG.